CRUELTY SHAME OF CRUFTS CHAMP by Sue Carr
A WOMAN who won a top prize at Crufts is facing jail for
keeping more than 90 animals in 'squalid and horrendous conditions.
Wendy Hutcheson, who ran Audenshaw Dog and Cat Home, was runner up in the
'yearling bitch' category at Crufts in 2007 for showing an American cocker
spaniel, Tameside magistrates' court heard.
But when' RSPCA inspectors were called to the sanctuary on Hanover Street,
they found most of the 92 animals, including the prize-winning breed, with
no food or water.
Their coats were caked with urine and faeces from being kept in cramped cages
and pens and many had breathing problems caused by the 'overpowering'
One dog's eye was so badly infected that it had to be removed and another
lost 26 teeth. Some of the animals at the home, which was used as a boarding
kennel and shelter for unwanted animals, were piled on top of each other
in cages which had not been cleaned for 'weeks if not months'.
The animals, including rabbits and birds, were discovered in January last
year when Hutcheson, 58, called the police claiming her husband was missing.
Officers found no trace of Mr Boyle, whom Hutcheson later blamed for the
state of the animals, but instead found several squalid buildings with the
animals inside, including in a caravan where she was living.
The RSPCA were called and a vet who examined the animals said they were the
worst conditions he had seen in 28 years.
Paul Turner, prosecuting for the charity said: "The conditions were horrendous
and the state of most of the animals was appalling."
Hutcheson, who now lives in Scotland, claimed the faeces had been produced
overnight and during the day the RSPCA were carrying out their
But Vicki McDonald, an inspector for the animal welfare charity; said: "It
clearly had not been cleaned effectively for quite some time.
"The floor was giving way it was soaked in urine. In between the miaows all
you could hear was wheezing.
"It was very dililcult to identify some of the breeds because they were so
"They looked dreadlocked, Crufts winner convicted these thick dreadlocks
Hutcheson, who pleaded not guilty at an earlier appear- ance, failed to turn
up to at court for the trial but the case was heard in her absence.
She was found guilty of six charges of causing unnecessary suffering between
January 14-30 last year by keeping the animals in squalid and filthy conditions,
failing to provide appropriate veterinary care or suitable accommodation
and failing to exercise reasonable care and supervision or protect them from
pain, injury, suffering or disease. A warrant was issued for her arrest and
she faces a hefty fine or up to six months in jail.
But as the Advertiser went to press, Hutcheson was seeking to have the case
reopened on the grounds that she had been absent from the hearing.
Lifetime ban for Crufts contender in - cruelty shame
by Sue Carr
A TOP Crufts contender who kept more than 90 dogs and cats in
'despicable' conditions with no food or water has been banned for life from
having anything to do with animals. Wendy Hutcheson, who ran Audenshaw Dog
and Cat Home, was runner-up in the 'yearling bitch' category of the competition
in 2007 with her American cocker spaniel. But when RSPCA inspectors were
called to the Hanover Street sanctuary they found 92 animals, including the
prize-winning breed, in 'squalid and horrendous' conditions described as
the worst they had ever seen. Animals were emaciated and their coats were
caked with urine and faeces from being kept in cramped cages and pens which
had not been cleaned for 'weeks if not months' Many had breathing problems
caused by the 'overpowering' stench. One dog's eye was so badly infected
it had to he removed - another lost 26 teeth.
Hutcheson, who now works as a carer in Scotland, failed to turn up for trial
at Tameside magistrates court but was convicted in her absence of six charges
of causing unnecessary suffering. The 58-year- old was later arrested and
kept in custody until Friday's sentencing. She was banned from keeping animals
for life and ordered to pay £1,000 costs. The offences date back to
January last year when police called at the home, used as a boarding kennel
and shelter for unwanted animals, to investigate a report made by Hutcheson
that her husband, Michael Boyle, was missing.
They found no trace of Mr Boyle but found several squalid buildings with
the animals inside, including a caravan where she was living. Hutcheson claimed
in court to be suffering from mental health problems.
District judge Rhalid Qureshi said: "What's clear from the evidence is that
92 animals were in considerable distress and living in despicable
"I am going to disqualify you for life. You are to have nothing whatsoever
to do with the keeping, transporting or welfare of any types of animals."
RSPCA inspector Vicki McDonald said: "I am pleased with the lifetime ban,
which will prevent any animals being subjected to such squalor inthe future
and hopefully will go some way to serving justice for the suffering of the
Hutcheson is to appeal her conviction.
A happier future for rescued dog
THESE days bright-eyed
Barney is a different dog to the cowering creature rescued from Hutcheson's
Audenshaw Dog and Cat Home.
The American cocker spaniel was among 63 dogs and 25 cats removed from squalid
living conditions in January 2009.
Almost two years on and Barney is healthy and happy in a new home with owner
Naomi Aspinall. Naomi, of Hillcrest, Hyde, said: "They told us the matted
fur they shaved off him weighed more than he did, but what upset me more
was how timid he was.
"He's still a bit protective of people coming in the house but he's fine
with the family .He's a sweetheart."
Your story on Sarah Whitehead and those attacking Huntingdon Life Sciences
only goes to show that those of us who feel strongly that animal testing
is abhorrent and unecessary cannot stop what goes on by staying within the
law. Whilst the tactics used by the group might transgress lawful activity,the
motive to stop torture is a high moral position and people such as those
mentioned are like myself,frustrated in trying to stop such 'research' that
not only causes pain and suffering,but impedes proper medical research by
touting the idea that animals can model humans.The travesties that have happened
because of the misguided idea that animals are similar enough to humans to
warrant experimentation have been evidenced by such cases as
which caused no problems in rabbits but devastated human life.
Human beings seem to have a serious schizoid personality over
moral issues with
animals. One the one hand they say they are like us enough to do experiments,
but the same people do not think them similar enough to give rights to. If
Huntingdon thinks those creatures are genetically similar to warrant doing
tests on,then they are similar enough
to feel pain and misery as we do and so should have the same rights as
we do. Had Huntingdon been using humans - they would be guilty of human rights
abuses. Sarah Whitehead is a heroine in my book - and I for one will be
campaigning to get her out of prison and given a medal - Huntingdon should
be closed down as the antequated institution that it is.
A PET dog had its tall blown off in a sick attack by
Meanie, a five-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier needed
surgery on the base of his tall for the horrific injury Another firework
was attached to Meanie's collar; leaving him with badly singed ears. He went
missing from the family home in Hyde on Sunday and was recovered by Animal
Wardens Ltd three days later The attack has horrified owners Vicky Parkin
and partner Michael Wilding, from Grange Road North, Hyde. Meanie, a former
rescue dog, has been with the family for two years and is adored by them
and their four children Shona-Rose, eight, Spencer, seven, Scarlet, three,
and two-year-old Steven. Vicky a home carer said: "We were heartbroken when
we found out what had happened to our dog. We were all crying our eyes out.
"He went missing on Sunday and I rang round everywhere and thought about
putting up posters. I assumed somebody had found him and taken care of him
"We were so relieved to get him back but we never thought someone would do
this to him. He's a really harmless and very friendly dog. There must be
some sick and twisted people out there to do something like that." Vet Carole
Lynch, who operated on Meanie at Willows Veterinary Hospital in Denton, said:
"It really is quite an horrific injury and one of the most horrible I have
ever seen." A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: "It's just beyond comprehension
why anyone would want to do something like that." Police are investigating