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Joe Whittam: Lancaster Animal Abuser Jailed For Breaching Life-Long Ban On Keeping Animals

A Lancaster man who was jailed in 2018 after he filmed himself setting a group of vicious dogs to tear apart a pet cat and a fox is back behind bars for breaching his lifetime ban on keeping animals and failing to provide care for them.

Joe Whittam, 32, was jailed at Blackburn Magistrates Court.
Joe Whittam, 32, was jailed at Blackburn Magistrates Court.

32-year-old Joseph Shaun Whittam of Greenset Close, Lancaster, was previously jailed in 2018 after he was seen on horrific video footage urging his dogs to tear apart a cat and a fox. Further video footage of the dogs attacking a gerbil was also recovered from his mobile phone.

Following the incident in 2018, RSPCA officer Jason Bowles said: "In one video, the two dogs are going crazy, barking and snapping at the mesh of a trap with a black and white domestic cat inside.

"In a second video, the cat is released along with the dogs and the dogs grab the cat and literally start to rip it apart while the cat screams and cries in pain. It is horrific and absolutely blood-curdling. Many of our staff here at the RSPCA haven't been able to stomach watching it.

"In another video, the dogs can be seen attacking and biting a fox. In all the footage Whittam can clearly be heard encouraging the dogs and egging them on."

Whittam was jailed for 22 weeks and banned from keeping animals for life.

On Friday 20 January, Whittam appeared at Blackburn Magistrates Court for sentencing on more animal cruelty charges.

The brown Patterdale terrier known as Thugly.
The brown Patterdale terrier known as Thugly.

He was due to stand trial for offences involving a brown Patterdale terrier known as Thugly. The charges against Whittam were:

  • Causing unnecessary suffering to the dog by failing to provide veterinary treatment for injuries following an encounter with a wild mammal.

  • Failing to take steps to ensure the dogs' needs were met in that he let him engage in an encounter with a wild mammal, leading to him becoming injured.

  • Being in breach of a disqualification order banning him from keeping animals for life by keeping four ferrets and in respect for the dog.

On the first day of the trial, Whittam changed his plea to guilty. He was handed four prison sentences to run concurrently.

Whittam was sentenced to 23 weeks behind bars for two offences in regard to Thugly and 18 weeks for each of the breaches of the disqualification order.

His most recent offending came to light in April 2021, when officers from the RSPCA's Special Operations Unit along with Lancashire Police executed a warrant at his home address following a suspected breach of the disqualification order.

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