Dyke woman disqualified from owning animals for life
A 54-year-old Dyke woman who pleaded guilty to five counts of animal cruelty at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court has been banned from owning animals for life.
Maxine Cammock, of Dyke Drove, was also sentenced to a 24-month community order and ordered to pay £250 court costs and a £85 victim surcharge during sentencing proceedings on Tuesday, July 10.
Mrs Cammock had, at a court hearing on June 19, admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to a large number of animals including dogs, pigs and chickens at her six acre Fosse Farm site.
The offences happened on two dates last year: October 10 and November 8.
In handing down the sentence, lead magistrate Susan Mahmoud said while the court had taken into account Mrs Cammock's mental health problems, the offences were "very serious" and the animals had suffered.
"You have got a lot of problems and there are lots of things you need to sort out so make sure you stay in touch with probation," she said.
Although Mrs Cammock has been disqualified from owing animals for life, she can approach a court in five years time to have the decision overturned, but would have to prove she is capable of looking after them responsibly.
Mr Jonathan Eales, prosecuting, had earlier told the court that of the 201 animals discovered on Mrs Cammock's premises last year, 176 were dead.
These included dogs, cats, chickens and pigs.
He said inspectors had also found a disconnected chest freezer stuffed with around 20 to 50 dead birds in various stages of decomposition.
The court heard how the horror was uncovered after a number of pigs had escaped.
Police had rounded them up, but during the process stumbled across the ‘disaster scene’.
Mrs Cammock's attorney Christopher Pye-Smith had opposed a custodial sentence saying his client had a history of mental health problems, which were exacerbated by her husband leaving, followed shortly thereafter by a staff member.
He said she had suffered "some sort of breakdown" and had gone into deep depression to the point where she started drinking heavily and could not remember if she had fed the animals on the property.
He said she did not oppose the disqualification for life in keeping animals.
Mrs Cammock sat with her head bowed during most of Tuesday's proceedings rocking slowly backwards and forth.
When Magistrate Mahmoud told her they were not going to send her to prison, she looked up and sobbed: "Okay, thank you."
RSPCA Inspector Kate Burris said: “I want to thank everyone who has been involved in this case - from the police officer who raised the alarm, otherwise the plight of these animals may not have come to light, to those who have rehabilitated and re-homed the surviving animals.”
RSPCA inspector Kate Burris on the scene that greeted her during a visit to the property last year:
“I went to Cammock’s home in October last year after a call from a police officer who had been involved in rounding up a number of escaped pigs and returning them to her.
“The officer was extremely concerned by what he had seen, and rang us.
“It is a large property with several buildings on site.
"There were the remains of dead animals everywhere, most in such a state of decomposition it was impossible to establish how they had died.
“Several collie type dogs were in a shocking state in filthy pens in one of the buildings.
"Two of the dogs were dead, one in a pen with two other dogs, Julie (pictured) and Martin.
“A pig who had eaten a bucket of rat poison was dead in another of the buildings.
"Cammock realised what the pig had done and, rather than seek vet treatment, locked him inside.”
She said the surviving animals were all removed and given the care they needed.
"Returning a month later, yet more animals were found to be having their needs not met and removed.
"Chickens were packed into plastic containers with the lids weighted down and 55 eggs had been hatched and the chicks were living in cardboard boxes and plastic containers."
The animals that were removed have been treated and successfully re-homed.
- For more pictures from this story, see Friday's (July 13) Rutland and Stamford Mercury.