Trio cleared by court in dog cruelty case

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Portsmouth teenager killed in knife fight

Three people accused of causing cruelty to a dog have been cleared.

Janet Walker, Maxine Proudler and Malcolm Ellrich all denied neglecting four-year-old terrier Buster at Castle Farm Kennels and Cattery in Wickham.

RSCPA officers and vets claimed the dog was so starved and dehydrated he weighed only one stone, could not stand up and had to be put on a drip.

But after a six-day trial, magistrates said they could not be 100 per cent sure the defendants caused or allowed the dog to suffer and found them not guilty.

Miss Walker, 25, and Miss Proudler, also 25, broke into smiles at the verdict.

Outside Portsmouth Magistrates' Court, kennel maid Miss Walker, originally from Inverness, said: 'I'm very happy. I was expecting the worst.

'I never thought it would go to court in the first place.'

Kennel manager Miss Proudler, from Lincoln, said: 'I'm ecstatic. It's brilliant. I didn't think it was going to go this way.'

During the trial, magistrates heard evidence from a host of experts.

Prosecution expert Kimberley Evans, a vet who examined a dog called Buster after he collapsed, said the dog was malnourished.

But Madeline Forsythe, for the defence, said he could have suffered from acute pancreatitis.

During the trial, Janet Walker said she had brought Buster with her from a previous kennels she had worked at as she was worried he would be put down. She denied ever letting him go without food or water.

Kennel owner Mr Ellrich, 61, who lives in Lincoln, denied having any knowledge of Buster even being at the kennels.

Magistrate Mike Wright said: 'We cannot be sure that the defendants' actions led to the decline in Buster.'

After all three were acquitted, RSPCA Inspector Janet Edwards told The News: 'I'm bitterly disappointed with the outcome of this trial and for the suffering Buster the dog had to endure.

'I feel anxious about the magistrate's decision.

'The RSPCA will be considering an appeal.'