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Thursday, Dec 25, 2003
Defendant/Suspect: Stephen Robinson
Eleven Labrador puppies were discovered trapped in a rain-soaked builder's yard with no food or shelter, Calderdale magistrates heard.
The tiny 12-week-old pups were found dirty, wet and bedraggled by police officers investigating reports of crying, barking and howling at the former railway arches, Station Road, Sowerby Bridge, last Christmas.
Stephen Robinson, of Thornes Park, Rastrick, Brighouse, was found guilty of cruelty to animals and ordered to pay a £500 fine and £150 costs.
Chloe Hudson, prosecuting, said the 48-year-old had left the seven golden and four chocolate Labradors in a corner of the yard in an arched viaduct.
PC Ben Pugh and PC Carol Hale, from Sowerby Bridge police station found the dogs at 7.30pm.
PC Hale said: "They were filthy, wet through and their little bodies were trembling. If we had left them there much longer I do not believe they would have survived."
She said some of the pups were clawing at the brick wall enclosing the yard and others were huddled together trying to stay warm.
Miss Hudson said: "It was a horrendous night in December, very windy and raining heavily. There was no food, no shelter and no fresh water nearby. The defendant exposed them to unnecessary suffering."
Philip Cockcroft, for Robinson, said he had left them in the secure portable building on site and blamed pranksters or intruders for moving the puppies.
"Apart from being cold, wet and bedraggled these animals were in a good condition and had been properly fed," he said.
Robinson, who owns the Labrador bitch which gave birth to the litter said: "I love animals, all animals and would not wish any harm to come to any animal."
He said he had moved the pups from his home to the builder's yard when they were just two days old and kept them locked in the cabin every night.
But Miss Hudson said Robinson had failed to report the disappearance of the puppies in the week following their removal by police.
"The defendant's story of the sequence of events is simply incredible and totally unbelievable," she said. The puppies were cared for by Marina Kennels, Huddersfield, and have since been rehomed.
- Halifax Courier - Oct 26, 2004
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