South East Wales

Doreen Buckley's suspended sentence for animal cruelty

The pony found in the cellar
Image caption The pony found in the Buckleys' cellar

A woman who was convicted of animal cruelty has been given a suspended prison sentence, a week after her husband was jailed.

A court previously heard that Doreen and Eric Buckley, of Pontypridd, had 24 animals in their cellar at a former pub in Gilfach Goch.

But Buckley was absent from Pontypridd Magistrates' Court last week when her husband was jailed for 12 weeks.

On Friday, she was given the same sentence, but suspended for 12 months.

The court last month heard that the couple had two dozen animals including a pony, geese and goats, in their basement, and had breached previous bans.

District Judge Jill Watkins was told at Friday's hearing that the Buckleys had continued to keep animals at home.

An RSPCA inspector had been denied entry to the property last Saturday where, the court heard, they were now keeping four dogs, some fish and two ferrets.

Doreen Buckley admitted that reptiles were also in residence.

She had failed to attend court for sentence last week after the court was told she had suffered a suspected heart attack.

Ms Watkins ordered Eric Buckley to attend alone and jailed him when he showed up.

Heart palpitations

She extended his wife's bail by a week but asked for proof that her condition was legitimate.

Neil Foley, Doreen Buckley's solicitor, told the court the hospital which had last week treated her refused to provide proof she had been there.

But he assured the judge that she suffered from both pleurisy and heart palpitations.

Ms Watkins jailed Buckley for 12 weeks, as she had done to her husband the week before, but it was suspended for 12 months.

Doreen Buckley, who was also ordered to wear an electric tag, agreed to sign over all the animals the couple owned to the RSPCA.

A life ban on keeping animals was also reimposed with more stringent conditions than previously.

The couple had been banned for life from keeping animals by magistrates in Kingston upon Thames where they were living in 1995.

More on this story