A dog walker from Leeds has been disqualified from keeping dogs for two years after being caught on camera hitting a client’s pet boxer.
Jacqui Wilkins, 46, of Dorset Grove, Stanningley, appeared before Leeds Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Monday).
She was due to stand trial but instead pleaded guilty to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act, admitting failing to meet the needs of Bella by rough handling, physical violence and intimidating behaviour.
RSPCA deputy chief inspector Gemma Fowler said: “Footage from a camera in Bella’s home shows Wilkins hit her in the face twice, shout at her and generally roughly handle her whilst her owners were not present.
“All the time Bella is being totally passive. Wilkins’ behaviour is completely unnecessary and it was pure chance that it was caught on camera.”
The incident happened in February last year.
In mitigation, the court heard that it was a moment of madness, and an isolated incident, which was regretted. Many references were provided from other clients who said they were aware of the prosecution case but that they would still trust Wilkins to walk their dogs.
In addition to the disqualification, she was also sentenced to a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work and eight rehabilitation days. She was ordered to pay costs of £300 and an £85 victim surcharge.
Gemma said: “Bella was entrusted to Wilkins, she was paid to look after her and another dog.
“Bella’s change in behaviour is what prompted her owners to look at the footage and of course they were very upset by what they saw.
“This was a person they allowed into their home, to have responsibility for members of their family.”
Jacqui has appealed her sentence.