June 24, 2021, 12:26

    Man crams 44 dogs into tiny cages to drive down motorway – before 20 of them die

    Man crams 44 dogs into tiny cages to drive down motorway – before 20 of them die

    A man crammed 44 dogs into small cages in a van on a hot summer’s day before driving up the M5, leading to the deaths of 20 of them.

    Patrick Stokes, 25, from West Rainton, Durham, was stopped on the M6 having set off from Stancombe Lane, Charlton Kings, en-route to Stoke-on-Trent last year with 44 puppies and two adult dogs on board.

    When the police stopped the unventilated van the 44 puppies were held in 4ft by 3ft crates and found to be malnourished and dehydrated, Cheltenham Magistrates heard.

    All of the dogs – 10 Beagles, seven Border Collies, three Chihuahuas and one Shih Tzu along with numerous other cross breads – needed immediate emergency veterinary care, reports Gloucestershire Live.

    Prosecutor Graham Dono said it was on August 22 that Gloucestershire Constabulary received a call from a furious member of the public stating that she had seen a litter of puppies being transferred from one van to another by two men she thought were acting suspiciously.

    All of the dogs – 10 Beagles, seven Border Collies, three Chihuahuas and one Shih Tzu along with numerous other cross breads – needed immediate emergency veterinary care
    (Image: Gloucestershire Live WS)

    Mr Dono said: “The woman heard loud whimpering noises coming from the two vans and the two men were going between them.

    “She was concerned by what she was witnessing and challenged them. She told them she was taking photographs and would be reporting it to the police

    “Stokes told the woman that he was transferring them from one van to the other as it was ‘too hot for them’ but she thought this was strange as the second van was smaller and was not ventilated.

    “She counted that there were over 20 puppies in the larger vehicle but was unable to calculate how many had been transferred to the small van.

    “The police alerted all forces around the country and within an hour Stokes had been stopped on the M6.

    “When Stokes was arrested he was asked when the puppies had last been fed and watered. Stokes responded that it was when they had arrived from Ireland.”

    The court heard the officers immediately feared for the welfare of the dogs and the puppies, none of which were pedigree, which were taken to Birmingham’s Northside Veterinary Clinic where one puppy was in a coma and the Brookend Kennels in Malvern. Twenty of the puppies were later found to have contracted the canine version of coronavirus.

    Stokes told the police in his interview that he wasn’t selling the puppies as they were all for nephews and nieces of his six siblings
    (Image: Gloucestershire Live WS)

    Stokes told the police in his interview that he wasn’t selling the puppies as they were all for nephews and nieces of his six siblings and that there was plenty of space for the dogs.

    Michael Levy, defending, said that had Stokes known the dogs were in a distressed state he would not have taken possession of them. He emphasised that he had employed a proper firm to transport the animals from Belfast and the exchange was made in Charlton Kings just 45 minutes before he was stopped by the police on the M6.

    The court was told that Stokes had paid £2,500 to buy the animals and had paid £2,400 to All Star Pet Transport to transport them by ferry from Belfast to Charlton Kings in Cheltenham.

    The court was told that Stokes had paid £2,500 to buy the animals and had paid £2,400 to All Star Pet Transport to transport them by ferry from Belfast to Charlton Kings in Cheltenham
    (Image: Gloucestershire Live WS)

    Mr Levy said: “Stokes had purchased the largest cages he could get to transport the puppies and in the van were two barrels of water and a supply of dog food.”

    He added: “Stokes is a man of good character who has never troubled the courts before. There is no way he could have been aware of the dog’s condition when they were delivered. The puppies were from a legitimate source, a licensed dealer in Northern Ireland and they had all been microchipped. He also employed a legitimate licensed pet transporter.

    “The dogs were being watered when the concerned member of the public challenged him. It was his intention to stop at the motorway services to water the animals en-route.

    “The two adult dogs were his own pets. He has always looked after animals having had responsibility for horses, donkeys, mules, dogs and cats and many other animals over the years.

    "The shock of him appearing at court on these charges has made sure he will not be doing anything similar in the future. I believe he should be punished by means of a conditional discharge.”

    Stokes pleaded guilty to not ensuring the needs of 44 puppies in his care and causing the deaths of 20 them while travelling between Beeches Road, Charlton Kings and Junction one of the M5 on August 22, 2020.

    Magistrates chairwoman Sue Alexander told Stokes that it was “only a matter of chance” that he was spotted by a member of the public.

    “Having put 15 puppies in each crate that was definite overcrowding and it no doubt resulted in the unnecessary suffering for the puppies which all needed veterinary care to deal with their dehydration.

    “Because of these factors we assess this as being far too serious for a conditional discharge. And having been convicted of this you are being banned from owning, keeping or transporting of dogs for two years.”

    The magistrates sentenced Stokes to a 12-month community order and ordered him to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work and to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £95.

    Sourse: mirror.co.uk

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