A WOMAN has been given a suspended 12-week prison sentence after she was found to be keeping dogs despite a ban on keeping animals.

Deborah Fuller, 62, from Harwich Road, Lawford, was found to be in breach of a four-year ban on keeping all animals she had been given back in 2015.

She was convicted following a trial in February this year after staff from a store Fuller visited regularly gathered CCTV footage and photographs of her breaching her disqualification order, having a dog in the back of her car.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Police, accompanied by RSPCA officers, executed a warrant in June 2019 to search for evidence that Fuller was breaching her disqualification order.

There they found her keeping ten Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

Fuller was also convicted of one offence of causing unnecessary suffering by not getting vet treatment for a dog called Wizard, who was struggling to walk with a deformity of the lower right foreleg which was swollen.

He also had a large mass causing him pain and was later put to sleep on veterinary advice due to having a bone tumour.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Fuller was also found in possession of a further Rhodesian Ridgeback called Sidney when police intercepted her leaving a veterinary practice in November 2019.

During a court hearing, District Judge King sentenced her to a three-month curfew to be monitored electronically and a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

She was also fined a total of £490 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.

She was further disqualified from keeping all animals for three years.

A second defendant, Keith Barton, 61, Santon Downham, Suffolk, was found guilty of aiding, abetting and counseling or procuring Deborah Fuller to breach her disqualification order.

He was sentenced to an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £625 costs.

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A further hearing relating to ownership of animals concluded on June 15, which means that the RSPCA can now find the dogs new homes.

RSPCA Inspector Caroline Richardson said: “It was heartbreaking to see Wizard struggling to walk.

“I’m pleased we can now find loving new homes for the dogs which we have been in our care for more than a year.”