Target: Chair of the Bench Clive Powell, Taunton Magistrates’ Court
Goal: Thank judge for banning pet hoarders from owning animals in the future.
A couple who kept over 40 pets in filthy conditions has been sentenced to 12 weeks in jail and has been banned from owning animals in the future. June and Paul Harding of Somerset, England pleaded guilty to 28 counts relating to the neglect and cruelty of animals after police found 31 dogs, seven cats and four guinea pigs living in a squalid home with urine and feces all over the floors. The conditions were so bad that police had to return with specialized equipment to combat the danger of ammonia inhalation.
Of the 42 animals seized from the home, two had to be euthanized. All of the animals showed signs of respiratory ailments due to lack of ventilation, and many had infections, rotting teeth, and ulcers. The only water left for the animals was so putrid that it had turned black, and the animals were left in dark rooms without any natural lighting. Since then, many of them have been rehabilitated and adopted into new homes by the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
Though the Hardings seemed to genuinely believe that they were providing adequate care for the animals, the judge that sentenced the two described the find as the worst case of animal cruelty he has seen in his 30 years presiding. Even members of the RSPCA, who encounter neglect and cruelty almost daily, found the conditions the animals were kept in to be appalling.
It is unclear whether any psychological or mental health issues contributed to the cruelty, though the couple may need other forms of rehabilitation, such as counseling. In this case, a short jail term will convey the seriousness of the couple’s actions and allow them to seek help for possible compulsive hoarding symptoms, while banning them from owning animals will ensure that the cruelty does not continue. Sign the petition below to applaud the judge for finding a fair solution that helps all parties involved.
Dear Mr. Clive Powell,
A couple was recently sentenced to 12 weeks in jail and banned from owning animals in connection with a shocking case of animal abuse. Dozens of animals were found in June and Paul Harding’s Somerset home living in putrid conditions and suffering from respiratory disease, infections, and ulcers. Despite an overwhelming smell of ammonia in the home as well as floors littered with feces and urine, the Hardings seemed to believe they were providing adequate care for their animals.
At this point, it is unknown whether a mental ailment such as compulsive hoarding may be at work, though it seems likely. A short jail term will not only convey to the couple the gravity of their abuse, but will allow them to seek mental health care for any issues. Furthermore, banning the couple from owning animals will ensure that the cruelty is not allowed to continue. We, the undersigned, applaud your fair and appropriate solution.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Stefan Körner via Creative Commons