FULL STORY: Ban and £10,000 bill for ex-Horncastle Mayor in animal welfare verdict

Pam Crisp Beard arriving at court EMN-141221-165144001
Pam Crisp Beard arriving at court EMN-141221-165144001

A former Mayor of Horncastle has been left with a £10,000-plus bill and banned from owning animals indefinitely after being sentenced for a host of animal welfare charges.

Pamela Crisp-Beard and daughter Marie Crisp-Beard appeared before magistrates in Skegness earlier today (Tuesday).

“We loved our animals. We always tried to care for them.”

Pamela Crisp-Beard

The pair, who live in Linden Road, Horncastle, were each convicted of six animal welfare charges following a two-and-a-half day trial earlier this year.

In addition, Pamela Crisp-Beard - a well known figure in the town - admitted two charges of owning a dog that was dangerously out of control in Stanhope Road, Horncastle.

Both mother and daughter received 18-month conditional discharges for the animal welfare offences, which involved more than 50 animals which were kept either inside their home, or in the back garden.

The Crisp-Beards were both handed an order banning them from owning any animals for an indefinite period.

They are entitled to apply to the court for the order to be lifted after 12 months.

In addition, Pamela Crisp-Beard was ordered to pay £10,000 towards the costs of the RSPCA who brought the prosecution after inspectors were first called to the house in January 2014.

No order for costs was imposed on Maria Crisp-Beard.

Pamela Crisp-Beard was also ordered to pay more than £330 compensation for vets’ fees as a result of the dangerous dog offences.

She was told to pay a victim surcharge of £15.

She was also handed an 18-month conditional discharge by magistrates for those two offences.

During the trial, the court was told animals - including rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats, cats, dogs, ducks, a goose and chickens - were kept in appalling conditions.

The RSPCA said some of the animals had been left without adequate food and water.

The court also heard rabbits were left to burrow in their own faeces.

It was also said that the Crisp-Beard’s house was filthy and stank of faeces and urine.

Some of the animals were kept in bedrooms.

Sentencing was adjourned on January 30 for reports to be compiled.

At today’s hearing, Berris Brickles (prosecuting) revealed the RSCPA’s total costs were £36,821.

He said the cost of housing the animals since they were removed from the Crisp-Beard’s property amounted to £26,837.

Mr Berris reminded magistrates that the Crisp-Beards had failed to heed warnings from the RSPCA about the conditions the animals were kept in.

He admitted the offences related to welfare rather than cruelty but called on the court to impose a ban on the Crisp-Beards owning animals.

Earlier, Jim Clare, representing the prosecution on the dangerous dog charges, had outlined the two offences.

He said the first took place in Stanhope Road in July 2013 when a Mr Cartwright was walking his poodle which was attacked by a lurcher-type dog owned by the Crisp-Beards.

Mr Clare said the lurcher had sunk its teeth into the poodle which was “yelping and defenceless.”

He said the dog also bared its teeth at Mr Cartwright who feared for his own safety before a passing motorist intervened.

The vets’ bill amounted to £156.28.

The second incident took place on October 2013 when a 13-year-old Daschund owned by a Miss Wilkinson was attacked while Pamela Crisp-Beard was walking her two dogs on a lead.

Miss Wilkinson was accompanied at the time by two young children.

Mr Clare said the lurcher-type dog - owned by the Crisp Beards - turned and bit Miss Wilkinson’s dog.

In the melee that followed, Pamela Crisp-Beard was left on the floor.

The vets’ bill for the second attack amounted to £183.70.

Ruth Harrop, defending the Crisp-Beards, said both mother and daughter had suffered from memtal and physical distress because of the case.

She told the court Pamela Crisp-Beard had suffered a mental breakdown in the year 2000 and her husband had subsequently died.

She said her client had been on medication for depression and added: “I have serious concerns about her mental health.”

She also confirmed Maria Crisp-Beard suffered from learning difficulties.

She said that Maria Crisp-Beard would shortly take ownership of a house adjoining the dwelling where the offences took place.

She revealed the second property had a tenant who, said Mrs Harrop, the Crisp-Beards had problems with and were trying to evict.

She told the court the Crisp-Beards did not “do anything deliberately” with regard to keeping the animals.

She said: “Their inability to cope was neglect rather than cruelty.’

She added the Crisp-Beards had struggled to cope because of the sheer number of animals, many of which had been handed to them as “rescues”.

She also reminded the court that Pamela Crisp-Beard had always stated she was responsible for the animals and that Maria had effectively “just helped out.”

Mrs Harrop said the duo did not have any previous convictions and added that both Crisp-Beards felt the animals were not just pets but “family members.”

In announcing sentence, magistrates agreed the charges were of a welfare nature and not “downright cruelty.”

After the hearing, Pamela Crisp-Beard told reporters: “We loved our animals. We always tried to care for them.”

It’s understood the animals - which have been ‘kennelled’ by the RSPCA - will now be found new owners.