Praise Ban on Abusive Couple Owning Pets


Target: Chair of the Bench Clive Powell, Taunton Magistrates’ Court

Goal: Thank judge for banning pet hoarders from owning animals in the future.

A couple convicted for keeping over 40 pets in filthy conditions has been sentenced to 12 weeks in jail and has been banned from owning animals in the future. June and Paul Harding of Somerset, England pleaded guilty to 28 counts relating to the neglect and cruelty of animals after police found 31 dogs, seven cats and four guinea pigs living in a squalid home with urine and feces all over the floors. The conditions were so bad that police had to return with specialized equipment to combat the danger of ammonia inhalation.

Of the 42 animals seized from the home, two had to be euthanized. All of the animals showed signs of respiratory ailments due to lack of ventilation, and many had infections, rotting teeth, and ulcers. The only water left for the animals was so putrid that it had turned black, and the animals were left in dark rooms without any natural lighting. Since then, many of them have been rehabilitated and adopted into new homes by the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

Though the Hardings seemed to genuinely believe that they were providing adequate care for the animals, the judge that sentenced the two described the find as the worst case of animal cruelty he has seen in his 30 years presiding. Even members of the RSPCA, who encounter neglect and cruelty almost daily, found the conditions the animals were kept in to be appalling.

It is unclear whether any psychological or mental health issues contributed to the cruelty, though the couple may need other forms of rehabilitation, such as counseling. In this case, a short jail term will convey the seriousness of the couple’s actions and allow them to seek help for possible compulsive hoarding symptoms, while banning them from owning animals will ensure that the cruelty does not continue. Sign the petition below to applaud the judge for finding a fair solution that helps all parties involved.


Dear Mr. Clive Powell,

A couple was recently sentenced to 12 weeks in jail and banned from owning animals in connection with a shocking case of animal abuse. Dozens of animals were found in June and Paul Harding’s Somerset home living in putrid conditions and suffering from respiratory disease, infections, and ulcers. Despite an overwhelming smell of ammonia in the home as well as floors littered with feces and urine, the Hardings seemed to believe they were providing adequate care for their animals.

At this point, it is unknown whether a mental ailment such as compulsive hoarding may be at work, though it seems likely. A short jail term will not only convey to the couple the gravity of their abuse, but will allow them to seek mental health care for any issues. Furthermore, banning the couple from owning animals will ensure that the cruelty is not allowed to continue. We, the undersigned, applaud your fair and appropriate solution.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Stefan Körner via Creative Commons

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  1. Thank you for rescuing these sweet animals — thank you for bringing them comfort and happiness — my heart breaks for their past suffering — innocent and vulnerable animals who are at the mercy of humans, need protections — PLEASE ensure that these crimes are not repeated and that ALL abusers and killers of animals are NEVER to be near any animal ever again!

  2. and let’s keep them from ever owning pets again the abuse is justified for only it happening once so no more animals have to be abused by their cold hands!

  3. Thank you for rescuing these sweet animals though the time didn’t fit the crime.. only 12 weeks.

  4. Tina shurtleff says:

    So glad this was taken seriously. Kudos to this judge who recognized this as hoarding and banned these people from future pet ownership. This is a great outcome and hopefully these poor animals will find loving homes now.

  5. ONLY 12 WEEKS ????????

  6. Are they mentally unstable?

    The sentence is way too lax …. 12 weeks is nothing ….

    what sort of consequence is that? What do you learn? Will this horror be repeated?

    What’s the point of 12 weeks! This is ridiculous!

  7. 12 weeks?? They should give them at least 12 years. They are subhuman monsters who will just do the very same thing over again if they are released. Whose going to monitor to see that they don’t?? That’s another story. I hope the judge will demand that this is enforced, to keep them from having other animals in their possession. They are criminals~~treat them as such!!! This slapping on the wrist business is getting old.

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