A Slough woman, who owned a banned breed of dog, has been convicted of
animal welfare offences, following an investigation by the council’s resilience and enforcement team.
Maria Mahmood, of Broadmark Road, Slough, was successfully prosecuted at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Friday 24 August, after pleading guilty to violations under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
She was fined £1,000 in costs, £230 for the offence and a further £30 victim surcharge. She was also banned from owning animals for 12 months.
The court heard how a resident initially reported concerns about the welfare of the dog, named Cairo, at the defendant's home earlier this year. Cairo had also previously escaped the property through an unsecured fence.
On 7 February, housing and enforcement officers visited the property to conduct a welfare assessment of the animal.
Their inspection highlighted welfare issues for Mahmood’s dog, a Dogo Argentino - a banned breed in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act – and images taken on the day were subsequently sent to Thames Valley Police’s dog legislation officer, who officially made the identification of this illegal pet.
On 13 February, council officers, along with Thames Valley Police officers and their dangerous dogs liaison officer, attended the defendant’s address and seized the dog under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Evidence recorded by council officers on this day confirmed Animal Welfare Act breaches by Mahmood, which saw Cairo living in what was deemed a hazardous living environment in her rear garden.
The dog was also without appropriate access to shelter, food and water, as well as a lack of entertainment and activity; which had resulted in the animal displaying destructive behaviour.
As a result, High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court awarded Slough Borough Council full possession of Cairo, who was consequently not allowed to return to the property.
Under the Animal Welfare Act, along with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) code of practice for dogs, owners must ensure their pet is provided ‘five freedoms’:
• a suitable environment
• a suitable diet
• is free from pain, suffering, injury and disease
• is allowed to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
• the need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals.
Cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection, councillor Pavitar K. Mann, said: “I’m delighted we have secured a conviction against this offender.
“Looking after a pet has a legal and moral duty attached to it, and it is vital that owners provide an adequate level of care.
“No one should allow animals to suffer in this way and we thank the individual who reported this person to our resilience and enforcement team.
“We hope this conviction acts as a warning to any irresponsible pet owners, as the council will intervene and prosecute anyone we find housing animals in unsuitable conditions.”
If you want to report any concerns regarding an animal’s welfare, contact the enforcement & regulatory team on 01753 475111.