December 9, 2020 1.45 pm This story is over 41 months old

Lincoln dog rescue owners cleared of animal theft charges

They have an axe to grind with police now

By Local Democracy Reporter

Two women from Lincoln who run a voluntary dog rescue have been cleared of animal theft charges after their case was dropped due to police allegedly perverting the course of justice.

Sally Turzanski, 28, from Lincoln and Ruth Sanderson-Dredge, 31 from Welton run ‘Breeds In Need’ as a form to temporary care for dogs.

They were arrested and charged in October on suspicion of theft of a cockerpoo called Athena, when it allegedly wasn’t brought back to the owner as agreed.

Other charges were handling stolen property, as well as criminal damage relating to alleged spaying and microchipping that was carried out without the consent of the dog owner.

Sally said she is just relieved this is all over.

The pair were released on bail before an appearance at Lincoln Magistrates Court, with conditions that prevented them from continuing their dog rescue service.

Neither of the women were allowed to possess or be involved in keeping, caring or rehoming animals not registered to them.

These bail conditions were removed a week later, after a district judge described them as “draconian” and “over the top”.

The officer in charge of the case has been accused of seizing the dog and returning it to its owner while Sally and Ruth were in custody.

The case has now been discontinued after police allegedly perverted the course of public justice by seizing the dog without crown prosecution service (CPS) approval.

The CPS is in fact reported to have dropped the case due to evidential tests not being met, as well as ongoing civil proceedings.

Sally told The Lincolnite that her home had been “invaded” by police three times, with no evidence appearing each time, as well as being arrested on her son’s 8th birthday.

“It has had a detrimental effect on our personal lives and we intend to get justice for this.”

Ruth claims the experience has triggered her anxiety to the point where she feels sick with worry any time somebody knocks on her door.

She said: “I’ve never been in any trouble before and suffer badly with anxiety.

“I have become scared when I see police cars or officers, and this truly saddens me as they’re who we should be able to turn to in times of crisis. My mental health has suffered hugely.”

Both Ruth and Sally are now considering bringing proceedings against Lincolnshire Police due to the way they feel they were treated in the case.

As the case was dropped, they can begin their service once again.

Breeds in Need began in 2002 under the name Bullies in Need, supporting bull terriers that needed rescuing.

It closed as an active rescue in January 2020 and was rebranded to Breeds in Need in May, incorporating all breeds of dog as a smaller foster-based rescue.

Sally, one of the owners, said: “It’s great that the charges have been dropped but the police tried to stop us helping people with their animals, which is all we want to do.”

The women are now appealing for fundraisers to help cover legal costs.

Breeds in Need is after £5,000 for this, and has so far raised £1,245 at the time of reporting.

Lincolnshire Police said in a statement “we can confirm the case has been discontinued.”