11:00am Tuesday 22nd November 2011
By Jim Palmer
ENGORGED, ulcerated and contaminated with faeces - that was the state of five-year-old Dude the tortoise’s penis after his owners failed to take him to the vet.
Dude’s genitalia was so badly damaged it had to be amputated in June last year.
Last week, Matthew Michael Kimber, aged 34, of Wested Lane, Swanley,and his 40-year-old wife Julie Ann Kimber, of East Terrace, Gravesend were found guilty at Dartford Magistrates'Court of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by failing to provide veterinary care.
The Kimbers took the sulcata tortoise to Sandhole Veterinary Centre in Snodland on January 8 last year with a prolapsed penis, which was stitched back in.
Five months later Dude was given to a new owner with his disfigured penis trailing behind him.
The Kimbers told the woman it had been that way for some time, was not hurting Dude and would simply drop off.
When flies gathered on the damaged appendage a few days later, Dude’s new owner took him to the vet, who referred the case to the RSPCA.
Mrs Everett said Dude’s penis had become “necrotic”. Although still attached, it was cracked, bloody and irreparably damaged.
She said she had requested in January the Kimbers bring Dude back for further treatment and left a phone message in February, which they disputed.
She denied telling the Kimbers the penis would drop off.
Mrs Everett said: “If they thought treatment was complete, when there was a recurrence, why did they not return at that stage?”
Nigel Weller, defending Julie Kimber, said Dude did not display any signs of being bothered by the prolapsed penis.
In an interview with an RSPCA inspector, Matthew Kimber said: “There was no point paying £200 again if it was not causing him any pain.
“We did not shy away from doing anything that needed to be done.”
In her RSPCA interview, Julie Kimber added: “If I had thought it was in any stress I would have taken it to the vet straight away.”
However, Mrs Everett told the court: “There was no way to say the tortoise was not suffering. It would have been clear to anybody.”
The pair were disqualified from keeping tortoises for five years, fined £250 each and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group