Court bans couple from keeping animals after pets suffer without veterinary care

Bristol Crown Court

Bristol Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A couple who left dogs and cats to suffer from untreated eye and dental problems have been banned from keeping animals for seven years. 

Jacqueline and Peter Portingale, aged 75 and 76 respectively, who lived in Lower Weare at the time of the offences and have since moved to Stoke-on-Trent, have been found guilty of animal welfare offences and were sentenced at North Somerset Courthouse, following a prosecution by the RSPCA, on December 15.  

An inspector from the animal welfare charity was called to the couple’s former home in Turnpike Road in May 2019 after concerns were raised for the welfare of animals at the address. 

One dog, known as Jack, had to be put to sleep because of the severity of his condition.  

He had a large corneal ulcer of the left eye which had ruptured and was discharging eyeball contents. He also had problems with his right eye, a severe heart murmur, and an infected tooth. 

Two King Charles spaniels were also suffering because of untreated eye issues, while other animals were found with a severe dental disease requiring urgent treatment. 

Two cats were found to have been neglected with dental disease, matted fur and overgrown claws, including one with such overgrown claws some had curled around to penetrate the pads of the toes. 

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Veterinary experts concluded that as owners they should have sought veterinary advice regarding cause and treatment which would have reduced or avoided the suffering caused. 

Following the sentencing, RSPCA Inspector Jo Daniel, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “Judge Leyton stated that it was clear that both defendants were responsible for the animals which had suffered due to their gross failure to address the animals’ conditions.  

“The dental conditions had been present for a considerable period, many months and the matting and dental disease in the cats would have been evident.”  

Alongside the seven-year disqualification, which cannot be appealed for three years, the couple was also sentenced to a 16 week-curfew, which means they must remain in their home from 8pm to 6pm. In addition, they were each ordered to pay £425 in court costs. 

The dogs and cats at the address were rescued and have since found new homes with the help of breed-specific rescue organisations. 

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