The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) believes a cruel dog breeder put dead puppies through a mincer and fed them to ferrets. Lisburn City Council said it was the most serious case of dog cruelty the dog wardens had witnessed.
The breeder Henry Williamson pleaded guilty to six charges of causing unnecessary suffering to puppies and dogs. The USPCA have described Williamson as callous and savage.
Stephen Philpott, head of the USPCA told the Belfast Telegraph’s Sunday Life that he saw “blood, guts and animal fur” in the mincer. They believe still-born pups were being fed to ferrets.
Williamson pleaded guilty to keeping an unregistered breeding establishment and to six charges of unnecessary suffering to puppies and dogs. Philpott said the USPCA would be “more than happy” if he was banned from owning animals for life.
Williams admitted to the Sunday Life that he was guilty on all charges but refused to admit he
Philpott has been the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the USPCA for 20 years. He spoke to the press about the disgust he felt when he visited Williamson’s home last year.
He received a call from a horrified member of the public who claimed that dead puppies were being put into a mincer. Philpott told the caller to call the police. By the time he had arrived on site other USPCA staff had arrived along with the police. There were over 60 dogs living in makeshift pens.
The veteran animal cruelty officer said “I noticed immediately that due to the layout of these structures that during cleaning, waste materials would have had to flow into the adjoining pen…Some of the animals had scalds on their feet and I believe this is caused by urine flowing freely from the pens.”
He added that many of the animals had skin irritations, possible due to mite infestations. “I am in no doubt that the environment in which they were being kept and the absence of the most basic animal hygiene requirements were contributing to this,” he said.
Philpott believes that Williamson’s property was a dog factory being run for profit. He said “I was there and I know what I saw…We believe that if one pup wasn’t fit to go in the shop window he disposed of it in what we would call a very, very callous manner.
“He wasn’t one bit interested in the dogs — he was only interested in what came out of their wombs. That’s all he cared about: what was pregnant and what gave birth.
“When I got there there was blood, guts and animal fur in that mincer and I firmly believe animals were put through that mincer.
“It’s like an apple farmer working out which apples he’s keeping and which ones are rotten and will be turned into cider.
“We also removed half-eaten carcasses, which we believe to be still-born pups, out of the ferret enclosure.
“Every shortcut that was possible to take to maximize profit was being taken. The animals weren’t even being given proper food. It was just awful.”
When Philpott and his staff arrived Williamson revealed that his license to house a breeding establishment had been suspended because the City County had told him there were significant work to be done on the facility.
Williamson also told Philpott the name of his vet. When Philpott check Wiliamson and his dogs were not known to the vet.
Philpott said “I believed it would be impossible to keep this number of dogs and their resulting offspring without regular input and advice from a competent veterinary surgeon…Eventually he [Williamson] admitted that while he had been in that practice purchasing medication for his animals this was done over the counter without any form of examination or site visit taking place.”
It was decided that the animals needed immediate attention and should be moved. Williamson became very agitated. He claimed that he suffered from health issues which prevented him from caring for the dogs properly.
“I told Mr Williamson that due to the lateness of the hour and the fact that the entire area was experiencing a power failure it was not possible to evacuate the animals that night but my staff, Lisburn dog warden and police would return in the morning to remove all animals.
“I instructed my staff to remove two spaniels and three ferrets for immediate veterinary treatment that night.”
Philpott added that rest of his staff was horrified by the commercialism of the place. He said “Just think of the whole thing as a dog factory made up of makeshift pens and doors, salvage and scrap. The animals were being kept in there in the dark being bred and re-bred.
“Those are the actions of a savage. The USPCA would be more than happy if Mr Williamson had nothing more to do with animals for the rest of his life.”
A spokeswoman for Lisburn City Council said “Council Officers assisted the PSNI in the investigation and the Council would support a lifetime ban from keeping dogs being imposed in such cases.”