A MAN has been banned from owning dogs for five years and ordered to pay £2,000 vets' bills after being convicted of five animal welfare charges.

When the police and RSPCA visited Bradley Valks’ kennels at Middleton Riding Centre, in Sadberge, near Darlington, last year they found two of his dogs in a filthy pen eating the carcass of a third.

A video filmed by an RSPCA inspector and shown to Newton Aycliffe magistrates showed the pen was also smothered with faeces in various stages of decay, and there was no bedding.

Inspectors said that one of the dogs, a Whippet, would have been “very cold” at night as a result.

Kevin Campbell, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said a pregnant Patterdale terrier found on the site was also flea-ridden, in poor physical condition and had a number of scabs on her face, which were thought to have been caused by another animal biting her.

He said a vet assessed the dog and found she had been suffering for at least three weeks.

A brindle and white Whippet was also found to be suffering from pressure sores and a chronic skin condition, as well as having bad teeth.

“The condition in which it was kept was a contributing factor,” he said.

“The environment in which the dogs were kept in was completely inadequate.”

At a previous hearing John Grierson, mitigating, said only two of the dogs in Valks’ care were found to have health problems.

The court heard that the deceased dog had been buried in the grounds in the weeks prior to the visit, but had been dug up and brought into the pen by the dogs, who were allowed to run free around the site.

Valks also told inspectors that he thought the accommodation was adequate, although not the best.

The 26-year-old admitted three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to the two dogs, and two charges of failing to ensure the needs of eight dogs were met.

His pets were signed over to the RSPCA and Valks was banned from keeping dogs for five years.

He was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and must pay £2,000 towards veterinary treatment, as well as £864 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing RSPCA Inspector Ruth Thomas-Coxon said she hoped the sentence would act as a deterrent to others.

She said: “We are really pleased with the result today. It shows a good investigation work with both the RSPCA and the police.”