A TRIALLIST banned for ten years by the Kennel Club after he was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to five dogs – three of whom had to be put down – has had the punishment reduced to five years.
The dogs involved – two Labradors, two German Shepherds and an English Springer – belonged to Roger Wooldridge, a security and guard dog trainer who takes part in working trials and tests.
At Newport magistrates Mr Wooldridge, of Gwerthonor Lane, Gilfach, Bargoed, had pleaded not guilty to four counts of causing unnecessary suffering and one of failing to take steps to meet the needs of an animal. He was convicted, and the court imposed a 12-week prison sentence suspended for a year and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £80, criminal court charge of £150 and costs of £157.
He appealed against the penalty imposed by KC’s Disciplinary Sub-Committee in January, arguing that the decision was made after reference to ‘irrelevant factors’, ‘for an improper purpose’ and in ‘a procedurally unfair manner’, and the penalty was disproportionate.
This was considered by the club’s Appeals Tribunal which did not uphold the first three reasons, but said that with regard to the fourth it had considered whether the disqualification period was proportionate. It noted that magistrates but had not banned Mr Wooldridge from keeping dogs so it was felt that the period imposed should be reduced to acknowledge this.