Kennels boss banned for life from keeping animals

THE owner of a kennels has been banned from keeping animals for life after a dog in his care suffered horrific injuries and later died.

Cross-breed Rex’s tail skin was ripped off, he suffered broken vertebrae and his wounds became maggot-infested when he was attacked by other dogs during a stay at Woodshaw Kennels in Aspull, a court heard.

The business’s owner George Marsden yesterday admitted causing unnecessary suffering by failing to take Rex to the vet’s and was told he will have to wait a decade before he can apply to have the life ban lifted.

A hearing at Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard Rex’s injuries were likely to have been caused when his tail had entered another cage, leading to its back end being attacked by two Jack Russells housed next door.

But Marsden, 74, having treated the wounds with an antiseptic spray, failed to notice Rex’s condition deteriorate and did not inform owner Gary Fish of what had happened, a joint RSPCA and Wigan Council investigation found.


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Tony Stock, prosecuting, said 16-year-old Rex was taken to vet Luc Van Dijk shortly after being collected from the kennels in August last year. The animal had congealed blood near to the wounds on its rear, was covered in faeces and urine, showed signs of poor circulation and was unresponsive. This was in addition to the de-gloving, which occurs when skin is torn from the tissue underneath.

The presence of maggots suggested the wounds could have been inflicted 48 hours previously, Mr Stock told the hearing.

He said: “Mr Van Dijk’s report suggests Mr Marsden was aware of an injury because the anti-septic spray had been used. But this was clearly not sufficient.”

Adding: “Mr Van Dijk would have told you that this dog was caused unnecessary suffering as it could have been alleviated by earlier intervention of veterinary treatment.


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“Mr Marsden said that he did not know that maggots were present which further suggests poor wound management.”

In mitigation, defence solicitor Mr Humphreys told the court Marsden has opted not to renew his licence following the negative attention his business had attracted as a result of Rex’s injuries appearing on social media and in this newspaper. The business has therefore now closed.

He added his client had owned kennels for 30 years and this was the first complaint of its kind. Rex had been moved to an isolation kennel and given treatment.

Mr Humphreys said: “This is not a cruelty case, this is a short-term neglect, a one-off. Mr Marsden knew this dog was being collected at 4pm and discovered the injuries on his lunchtime check, that is why he took no further action.”


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Magistrates also heard that a veterinary report said the wounds will have been sustained “at least 24 hours before” rather than the 48 hours previously stated, Mr Humphreys added.

The bench imposed a four-month curfew order on Marsden plus £300 costs and the ban from keeping animals.

His wife, Hilda Marsden, 71, was told prior to the hearing she would not face the same charge, having been initially listed as a defendant.

The presiding magistrate said: “We will not ignore the fact that this animal was suffering and you (George Marsden) did not take it to the vets like you should have done. It seems obvious that you should have done this without hesitation.”