Former gunner from RAF Honington gets five year ban from keeping animals

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A former RAF gunner based at RAF Honington, who failed to take proper care of his pet dogs, has been banned from keeping animals for five years.

Yesterday, at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court, Ashley Kevin Thomas Cavnor, 25, formerly of Woodside View, Honington, and currently of Willow Crescent, Newmarket, pleaded guilty to two offences under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act.

Prosecuting, Hugh Rowland said, on August 17 last year, acting on information they had received, RSPCA officers attended Cavnor’s home and seized a thin Akita bitch named Abbey.

She had lost about 30 per cent of her body weight, a total of around 10 kilos, said Mr Rowland.

He added that, since being seized, Abbey had reached her optimum weight, proving that malnutrition had been to blame.

When interviewed, Cavnor volunteered information about his other Akita dog, Thor, which had died just days before.

He said he had been feeding Thor and could not explain why he had become ill.

In mitigation, Mark Thompson said Cavnor was ‘struggling to come to terms with how this could have happened’.

He said Cavnor had been medically discharged from the RAF because of a back injury, a job which he had ‘loved to bits’ and was devastated to lose.

His marriage subsequently broke down and he became estranged from his wife and two young children.

Mr Thompson said Cavnor suffered with depression and had been ‘too wrapped up’ in his own problems to show concern for his dogs. But, he said, he had never intended to cause them harm and was particularly distressed that they suffered the way they had.

He said Cavnor had noticed his dogs losing weight after having changed to a supermarket’s own brand dog food and had ‘upped their feed’.

Where he accepted he was at fault with both dogs is in not taking them to a veterinarian.

Fran Lewis, from the probation service, said Cavnor had neglected the animals during a period of personal crisis, while being ‘self-absorbed’.

She said he continued to misuse alcohol and felt low.

“He was heart broken, not only when his wife left but when he lost the dog, and he does express remorse,” said Miss Lewis, adding that she believed he would benefit from a mental health assessment as he could be suffering from post traumatic stress.

Cavnor received a 12 month community order with supervision and 60 hours unpaid work. He was banned from keeping animals for five years.