Milford man found guilty of cruelty charges

Pet cocker spaniel dies from infection due to extreme matting of hair; owner convicted of cruelty to animals,  receives $1,000 fine and Level 2 probation


 Kent County – DE -- Captain Sherri Warburton, Chief of Delaware Animal Care and Control (DEACC), announced that Bobby Smith, 60, of Milford was found guilty of Cruelty to Animals on March 18, 2014.  

The case stems around a neglect complaint received by DEACC on September 6, 2013 about “Brewster,” an adult male cocker spaniel dog that was in poor condition upon arrival to a professional groomer. The dog was then transported to a local animal hospital. Brewster soon died from complications stemming from severe matting. On September 10, 2013, FSAC-SPCA shelter veterinarian Dr. Leah Tammi determined that the severe matting had entombed both ears, causing a fatal infection.

Tammi also reported that because of the severity of the matted hair, “Brewster” was unable to close his eyes. Approximately nine pounds of matted fur was removed from “Brewster” at the time of his death. DEACC Sergeant Kim Schnares investigated the case and arrested Smith on September 10, 2013 for Cruelty to Animals. 

“It is a very sad situation,” said Captain Warburton. “Years of neglect caused dirt to build up so much in the dog’s coat that it caused a deadly infection from which the dog could never recover.”

Warburton said that the veterinarian determined that the massive size of the hair matting entombed both of the dog’s ears inside of the matting, which had pulled the right ear over and across the top of the dog’s head where the massive mat had consumed the left ear as well. One of the ears was full of infection, puss, and maggots. Both of the eyelids were pulled open and back to where the eyes were bugged out and the dog was unable to close its eyes.

Warburton added that the responding officer on the case, Sgt. Schnares did a good job building a strong case against Smith.

Smith was sentenced by the Honorable Judge Robert B. Young, Kent County Superior Court to 1 year Level 5 incarceration, suspended for 1 year Level 2 probation, and fined $1,000.00 plus court costs. He is also prohibited from owning or possessing animals for five years.

Warburton encouraged anyone who may know of situations involving animal cruelty or other animal neglect to contact DEACC at (302) 698-3006, option 1.

Delaware Animal Care and Control is under the auspices of the First State Animal Center – SPCA. Delaware Animal Control is the enforcement agency for Title 3, Title 9 and Title 11 laws pertaining to animal welfare. Title 3 pertains to rabies control; Title 9 pertains to housing and dangerous dogs, and Title 11 pertains to animal cruelty.

The mission of the First State Animal Center and SPCA is twofold: they protect animals from people, by prevention of cruelty and suffering, rescue of the trapped or injured, emergency medical treatment, temporary housing for homeless animals and the reduction of homeless pet overpopulation through targeted spay/neuter and education programs; and they protect people from animals through their commitment  in placing only stable, safe and well-adjusted animals into homes where they will thrive while simultaneously educating the public about responsible pet guardianship.


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