A MAN has successfully overturned a ban from keeping dogs following a crown court appeal.

Tree surgeon Gareth Thompson, 27, received a five-year disqualification after admitting four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court.

He was also ordered to undergo 200-hours’ unpaid work and pay £2,500, on top of an agreed deprivation order of the dogs concerned.

Durham Crown Court heard it related to a lurcher, a cocker spaniel bitch and her litter of six puppies referred to the RSPCA by police following an unconnected raid at an adjoining plot to where Thompson was living at the time, in Trimdon Grange, in December 2017.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said the lurcher’s front leg was lame, from an inflamed paw injury, while the cocker spaniel was significantly under weight and the puppies had infected docked tails.

John Boumphrey, for Thompson, said the lurcher was a working dog which suffered a paw injury some time earlier, but the cocker spaniels belonged to someone else and were only in the defendant’s care for a week.

Upholding the appeal by Thompson, now of Front Street South, Trimdon Station, Judge Jonathan Carroll agreed the sentence was, “manifestly excessive”.

Lifting the ban, he also reduced the unpaid work to 50 hours and costs to £500.