#TheList Karen Mary Anderson, born 08/09/1954, and husband John Anderson, born 07/06/1961, both of Kingsway South, Warrington WA4 1LS – kept two dogs in a cage behind a sofa for 22 hours a day for two years leaving them covered in sores and scars
The Andersons kept Staffies Jet, aged 10, and Tye, aged 12, locked in a small cage 22 hours a day for two years.
When rescued by the RSPCA on January 20, 2013, both dogs had damaged teeth and were covered in sores and scars from trying to escape the cage.
Inspectors found the broken wires of the cage were bent back into place by the pair to keep the pets contained, concealed behind an old sofa in a dirty, disused bedroom.
Kevin Worthington, prosecuting, said both dogs were ‘emaciated with ribs, spines and skulls all visible’.
They were rarely fed while trapped, with paws stained from urine and faeces. Neither dog could walk.
The court heard how the defendants had two other dogs, both Dogue de Bordeaux, who Mrs Anderson described as her ‘babies’.
They slept in the bedroom with the couple and were treated as part of the family. The couple also kept barn owls and tropical fish.
All pets were seized by the RSPCA.
At Halton Magistrates Court, District Judge Bridget Knight said: “This case is truly shocking.
“I have seen the photographs of these two dogs that were family pets kept as prisoners.
“I can’t conceive how you as human beings and dog owners could sleep night after night when you knew these two animals were suffering greatly.
“You had grandchildren visiting and I can’t bear to think of young children knowing animals were being treated in this way.
“I almost despair.”
All pets have now been seized by the RSPCA.
Jonathan Conder, defending, said the dogs were separated because they started to fight.
He said: “The defendants fully accept the cage was completely inadequate accommodation for the dogs.
“That wasn’t the right way to keep them.
“The treatment of the dogs is an aberration for people who have kept pets all their lives.”
Sentencing: 18 weeks in prison, suspended for two years. 26-week curfew. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years (expires August 2023).
John Anderson, on long-term sick from self-employed work as a removal man, was told to pay £600 towards a £4,000 vet bill.
Karen Anderson, who is on benefits, will pay £520.