A MOTHER-OF-FOUR from Oddington, near Stow, may have to work in a dog sanctuary as punishment for trying to dock the tails of her five Jack Russell puppies illegally by putting elastic bands around them, a court was told.

Cheltenham Magistrates Court heard Amanda Radway, 34, of Home close, admit causing unnecessary suffering to the puppies on June 19 and 20 last year and failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the animals were protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease.

Telling her to return to court for sentencing on February 13, court chairman, Peter Martin, said: “There may be a sentence which is very applicable to the circumstances - such as unpaid work, particularly associated with animals and maybe dogs, such as assisting at various animal sanctuaries and that sort of thing.”

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) prosecutor, Charlotte Mitchell, said Radway visited a veterinary surgeon on June 20 to have the puppies’ dew claws removed.

Ms Mitchell said that, becoming concerned about Radway’s docking procedure after noticing the tails were damaged, the vet put the puppies under general anaesthetic and surgically removed the tails.

She said tail docking became an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the only exceptions were puppies of five days old or younger who a vet certified to be working dogs.

Helen Smith, defending, said Radway committed the offence in ignorance because her family had bred many dogs and being in the hunting community it had been common practice to dock the tails of certain breeds.

Ms Smith said: "She uses very strong material, which constricts the blood supply and causes the nerve ends and flesh to die very quickly."