A MAN has been warned he could face jail after two of his dogs were found in a filthy pen eating the carcass of a third.

Magistrates said they were appalled after viewing a video of Bradley Valks’ kennels at Middleton Riding Centre in Sadberge, near Darlington.

Police and the RSPCA visited on May 1 last year amid concerns over the welfare of a number of dogs.

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In one pen officers filmed two dogs living next to the carcass of a third, with the RSPCA Inspector noting the pair had been eating the decomposing body.

In a video shown to Newton Aycliffe magistrates, the inspector also said the pen was “smothered in excreta in various stages of decay” and there was no bedding.

He said that one of the dogs, a whippet, would have been "very cold" at night as a result.

Officers also found a Patterdale terrier on the site which was found to be pregnant, emaciated, flea-ridden and suffering from infections with wounds on her head, the court heard.

Kevin Campbell, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said a vet assessed the Patterdale terrier and found it had been suffering for at least three weeks.

A white whippet was also found with pressure sores and a chronic skin condition which Mr Campbell said a responsible owner would have sought treatment for.

Valks, 26, who lives in a cottage at the centre, initially denied all offences but changed his plea to guilty yesterday (Wednesday, May 21).

He admitted three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to two dogs and two charges of failing to ensure the needs of nine dogs were met.

John Grierson, mitigating, said only two of the dogs in Valks’ care were found to have health problems.

He also said the dogs greeted the RSPCA inspectors with wagging tails indicating they were happy and not distressed.

Mr Grierson said: “Wagging tails mean happy dogs. My client did look after the dogs in the majority of cases”.

Chairman of the bench Nick Edger said Mr Grierson was demeaning the condition of the dogs and said they may have been wagging their tails out of relief at people finding them.

A pre-sentence report was requested from probation service with Mr Edger adding: “All options are open to us, that includes custody.”

The court heard all the dogs were signed over to the RSPCA and Mr Campbell said he is seeking an order banning Valks from keeping animals.

He was granted unconditional bail to return to court on Thursday, June 19.