Charity man faces 11 welfare charges
THE manager of a North Devon animal charity has appeared in court accused of 11 animal welfare offences.
Stuart Ford, who runs the Society for the Protection and Rehoming of Animals (SPRA) charity in Torrington, appeared before magistrates on Friday.
Ford, of 83 Castle Hill Gardens, Torrington, faces 11 allegations brought under the Animal Welfare Act.
The offences are alleged to have taken place between 2009 and August 2012.
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One charge is that 52-year-old Ford used a stick to strike the side of pens where dogs were kept, causing unnecessary suffering and fear.
He is also accused of penning dogs for extended periods of time and jabbing them with sticks.
Another charge says he used a pulley system in a building housing dogs to silence them.
He is also accused of housing cats and dogs in a garden shed which had inadequate natural lighting and ventilation.
Six of the charges Ford faces relate to specific incidents.
He is accused of failing to provide a safe environment for a cat. The animal is said to have been found dead and hanging by its leg in a cage.
In another instance he is alleged to have dangled a West Highland terrier from its lead.
It's also alleged Ford used a check collar to forcibly yank a border terrier by its neck and forcibly used a check chain to discipline a Dalmatian before striking it with his hand.
Another charge alleges a West Highland terrier was dragged from a grooming table by its neck causing it to land on its back before it was whipped and verbally abused.
Another charge alleges Ford failed to provide a safe environment for a cat and a dog, after the cat was found housed in a cage on top of another cage which held the dog.
All the offences allegedly took place at the SPRA charity's Torrington base. Appearing before magistrates in Barnstaple Ford made no plea to any of the charges. He is due back in court on March 8.