Mum-of-six allowed to keep pets despite animal suffering conviction

Lisa Love outside Ipswich magistrates court. Picture: ARCHANT

Lisa Love outside Ipswich magistrates court. Picture: ARCHANT

An mother-of-six can continue keeping pets despite being convicted of mistreating a dog.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court (stock image). Picture: GREGG BROWN

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court (stock image). Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Lisa Love, 39, of Nacton Road, Ipswich, was found guilty of causing suffering to Lola, a black Staffordshire bull terrier cross, by failing to address a skin condition.

Representing herself in a trial before magistrates in Ipswich, Love denied the charge, claiming she did all she could for the dog.

When RSPCA inspector Natalie Bartle visited in May last year, she found one Chihuahua in reasonable condition, another slightly overweight, and a white Staffordshire bull terrier with discharge around one eye. In the kitchen, she found Lola in a plastic bed, tethered to a radiator.

She told prosecutor Hugh Rowland that Lola was in very poor condition, smelled foul and had a clear skin complaint.

• Read more: See mother-of-six’s mistreated dog before and after treatment

Love told the inspector she was aware of the condition but had not obtained treatment since moving house the previous May.

Lola was taken to Ryder Davies vets in Woodbridge, where Dr Joseph Steventon diagnosed a chronic long-term skin condition, which improved rapidly over the next few weeks of treatment.

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Love argued that photos taken at the surgery made the condition appear far worse than in pictures taken the same day at her home.

She told the court Lola was kept on a lead to prevent scratching and that the appearance of suffering was caused by irritation during the journey to the vets.

Dr Steventon agreed that ‘self-trauma’ in transit was possible, but told the court he believed Lola had been suffering longer.

Love said that, before moving home, vets diagnosed a possible brain condition in Lola and had discontinued medication which had improved her condition.

Mr Rowland accepted Love had started treatment, but had stopped after moving house, adding: “You thought you would be in trouble for showing her to anyone.”

Love denied the assertion, said answers attributed to her by the RSPCA were false, and claimed to have sought treatment, but said her nearest new vet had been unhelpful. She also disputed testimony of a welfare officer who swore to having offered help.

When called, Love’s mother said Lola had not suffered under her care.

But magistrates found her guilty and ordered for Lola to be transferred to the RSPCA.

With no evidence of suffering in Love’s other animals, she was allowed to keep the dogs, a corn snake and her son’s pet hamster.

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