Helpless puppies with cropped ears found in semi-comatose state – abusers jailed

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Wounded puppies were found in a semi-comatose state after three men illegally and callously cropped their ears.

Alexander David Johnson, Ryan Woodward and Michael Nolan have been jailed on animal abuse charges for their roles in disfiguring three young dogs.

The men were found with six puppies by Staffordshire Police, along with a bag of syringes, surgical scissors and an empty bottle of ketamine among other veterinary items on November 10, 2020.

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The three bully-type puppies with cropped ears were still in a semi-comatose state from anaesthesia given to them before the cruel procedure, the Mirror reports.

The police contacted the RSPCA, which took on the investigation.

Alexander David Johnson, of Elmsmere Road, Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent, faced one charge of carrying out the cropping of ears on three puppies.

Ryan Woodward, of Forrest Court, Union Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, faced one offence that he did aid, abet, counsel or procure Alexander David Johnson to carry out a prohibited procedure of cropping the ears of three puppies.

Michael Nolan, of Victoria Road, Carlisle, Cumbria, faced one offence in that he was responsible for a puppy and another person carried out a prohibited procedure namely the cropping of ears on the animal – and that he permitted that to happen or failed to take such steps to stop it.

All three men pleaded guilty and sentencing took place on Wednesday.

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At sentencing, Johnson was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison and ordered to pay £775 costs. Woodward was jailed for 19 weeks and ordered to pay £775 costs. And Nolan was jailed for 14 weeks and ordered to pay £400 costs.

All three were disqualified from keeping dogs – Johnson for life and Woodward and Nolan for 15 years – and all were served with deprivation orders meaning they have 21 days to rehome any dogs still in their care.

In a written witness statement, provided to the court by RSPCA inspector Jenny Bethel, she said she collected the puppies – who had been seized by police on November 10, 2020 – and took them to a veterinary practice.

She noted that three of the six puppies – who were bully-type puppies and were around eight-10 weeks old – had their ears cropped and three had their ears intact.

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All puppies were examined and given a health check, vaccinations and were microchipped, with the three which had their ears cropped the night before given pain relief and antibiotics.

The three ear-cropped pups went on to have their ears operated on and re-stitched at RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital.

Inspector Bethel found two pairs of black latex gloves and bloodied kitchen roll tissue all in separate sealed evidence bags and there was a black men's cosmetic bag containing multiple and various veterinary objects.

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"The bag contained syringes, needles, surgical scissors and blades, three empty 10mg bottles of Sedivet for horses, one empty bottle of ketamine, empty vaccination bottles, pliers and a staple gun with blood on it," said inspector Bethel.

There also was a brown envelope filled with items.

PC Rebecca Tyler, of Stoke North Local Policing Team, said: "This is something that my colleagues and I will remember for the rest of our careers. We are glad that the puppies recovered and have found loving homes."


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