Woman receives life ban from owning dogs after sheep were mauled
- Credit: ARCHANT
A woman has been banned from keeping dogs for life after her two pets mauled sheep to death on farmland in Suffolk and Essex.
Vanessa Bice, 41, previously pleaded guilty to two charges of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and three counts of criminal damage.
Her co-defendant, Warwick Foreman, 52, of Compton Road, Colchester, pleaded guilty to four charges of being in charge of a dog worrying livestock and four charges of criminal damage.
He was also convicted of aggravated vehicle taking and criminal damage following a trial and was jailed for 21 weeks in July. Bice was not well enough to attend that sentencing hearing.
The court previously heard how a number of sheep had to be put down after being attacked by Bice's two podenco dogs, named Furia and Scoobie, in four separate incidents last year.
Police had received previous reports of the dogs running loose around Brantham, near Manningtree, when sheep farmer Thomas Hammer discovered three badly injured ewes – two of which had to be euthanised – on meadowland in the area of Gravel Pit Lane on August 9.
When police visited the nearby home of Foreman and Bice, who at time were living together, the pair denied responsibility.
But, after one of the officers noticed dried blood around the mouth of one of the dogs, fur samples were submitted for testing and crime scene investigators collected swabs from bite marks on the dead sheep.
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On August 23, Mr Hammer discovered another two severely wounded ewes – both of which had to be put down – and a week later, after community protection notices had been served, requiring the dogs to be muzzled and on leads, Mr Hammer found two breeding rams with fatal injuries.
On September 11, he found two more critically injured ewes – one of which had to be put down.
On December 3, another farmer, Guy Lennox, found four sheep fatally injured after a dog was reported chasing his flock of about 165 sheep in a field between Lawford and Little Bromley, in Essex.
A blue Ford Focus, seen leaving the area, was later traced back to Bice.
On January 5, dogs fitting the description of Furia and Scoobie mauled a pet cat in Gravel Pit Lane.
Four days later, damage was caused to a jacket worn by a chihuahua in Gravel Pit Lane.
Both Furia and Scoobie were seized by police on January 10.
On Thursday, Bice, of Gravel Pit Lane, Brantham, was handed an absolute discharge by magistrates due to her current medical condition.
But she was disqualified from owning a dog for life, court officials said.