A breeder, who was originally jailed for 21 weeks as well as ordered to pay £50,000 costs after more than 110 animals were found in poor conditions at her home, has lost her appeal against her conviction and sentence.
Lynn Stoker was jailed in September 2019 when she was found guilty of 15 animal welfare offences at Bedlington Magistrates’s Court.
Stoker was first visited by the RSPCA in November 2017. The inspectors found more than 110 animals – including dogs, puppies, cats and tortoises – living in squalor and neglect at the site. She was reportedly offered help, including free vaccinations, neutering, health checks and treatment as well as assistance rehoming some of the dogs, but when the situation did not improve the RSPCA joined police to execute a warrant at the Byrness Village property on 8 May 2018.
“One-hundred-and-seven dogs – many suffering from severe ear infections, numerous dislocated hips and dental disease which were so serious they had pathological fractures of the jaw,” a statement reads.
There were a number of different breeds of dogs at the property – including chihuahuas, shih-tzu crosses, cockapoos, King Charles Spaniels, terrier crosses, poodles and bulldogs.
“Those that were housed in crates were crammed in together and the animals that were roaming free moved in a pack. There was dog faeces and urine around the property and in the cages.”
Inspector Heidi Cleaver, who led the investigation, said in her statement, “The conditions in the house were noisy, crowded and chaotic. The dogs live as a pack. There was no space for them to escape each other.”
“There were no measures in place to control the temperature within the property. The majority of the dogs were housed in the conservatory, which would be cold in the winter months and potentially incredibly hot in the summer months. There was a door from the conservatory into the yard, which could be opened and small windows which could also be raised, but ventilation was limited.
“Many dogs in the conservatory were confined in training cages in direct sunlight on the day we attended. Outbuilding B was cold and smelly, there were no windows allowing light into the area also meaning ventilation was stilted.
“The dogs in Outbuilding B were kennelled and therefore unable to control their environment in terms of moving away from or towards a heat source or moving somewhere more comfortable.”
After being sentences to a £50,000 fine and 21 weeks in prison, Stoker lodged an appeal against her conviction and sentence. However, the original decision was upheld and she now has to pay a further £38,000 in costs.
Inspector Cleaver added, “Due to this appeal we still had a number of dogs in our care but now the case has concluded I am delighted we can now rehome them.”
Images by RSPCA