QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE DAVIS
|ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS||(DEFENDANT)|
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MR P ROGERS (instructed by Gordons of Marlow) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
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"If any person -
(a) shall ..... by wantonly or unreasonably doing or omitting to do any act ..... cause any unnecessary suffering ..... to any animal such person shall be guilty of an offence of cruelty within the meaning of this Act ..... "
It should be mentioned that the phrase "unnecessary suffering" has been the subject of judicial decision in the past. It has been held that suffering becomes unnecessary when it is not inevitable in that it could be alleviated by some reasonably practical measure (see Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v Isaacs  Crim LR 517).
"The dog was caused unnecessary suffering in that the appellant unreasonably omitted, for want of professional advice which a responsible owner would have sought, to provide the dog with an adequate diet suitable for its breed, age and condition."
"We were of opinion that the appellant should have taken professional advice because the dog had a large weight loss of which she was aware. She did not act on the loss of weight identified by her, whereas a responsible person would have taken the dog to a veterinary surgeon for advice about the dog's condition and dietary requirements. During the relevant period between 9 May 2005 and 6 June the appellant did not change the dog's diet. This was for want of professional advice which, unreasonably, she failed to seek. Accordingly we found her guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog by unreasonably omitting to provide it with an adequate diet suitable for its breed, age and condition."
The appellant was fined £200, ordered to pay costs and was disqualified from having custody of a dog for two years and a deprivation order was made in respect of the dog Clyde.
"The question for the opinion of the High Court is whether the evidence was such that we were correct in convicting the appellant of the offence of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911, on the basis that she unreasonably omitted, for want of professional advice which a responsible dog owner would have sought, to provide the dog with an adequate diet suitable for its breed, age and condition."
" ..... in this present case, the mens rea against this defendant was his unreasonable act in failing to secure the dogs within the caravan and thus knowing that if the dogs managed to get out they would, inevitably, run among the lambs and ewes and almost certainly cause them unnecessary suffering, those lambs and ewes being adjacent to where his pack of dogs was housed.
In my judgment the mens rea in this case was in the unreasonable conduct and act of this appellant with the knowledge and foresight he had of the consequences of not securing his dogs within the caravan that damage would be occasioned, and suffering would be occasioned, to the lambs and ewes in the field nearby."
Lord Justice Evans, in the course of giving his judgment, said (at page 8):
"But on the authority of Greenwood v Backhouse some guilty knowledge has to be proved against the defendant.
The question next arises: guilty knowledge of what? It seems to me that there has to be proved guilty knowledge of the fact that unnecessary suffering would, or might, be caused to the animal in question.
I would readily accept that foresight is an essential element of the guilty knowledge. The case might well be different, and as at present advised I would say that it would be different, if for any reason it could not be said that the risk of injury to the sheep could have been foreseen."