A COUPLE whose 18 out-of-control dogs terrorised a Fenland community have been ordered to give up their pets.

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"This is good news for residents of Manea who had to put up with dogs running wild in the neighbourhood."

PC Natalie Charman

Caroline Smart, 43, and Richard Sutton, 51, were reported after two of their dogs killed a cat and a lamb and injured two other lambs in Manea.

The incidents, which happened on May 14, followed weeks of chaos as dogs repeatedly escaped from their home in Station Road.

The dogs, which included huskies, German shepherds and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier jumped over fences and wandered into roads and nearby homes.

Eight chickens were killed and four more were injured by one of the dogs in January.

The dogs responsible for the attacks, both husky and German Shepherd Cross, were put down in May.

Sutton pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog worrying livestock and failing to ensure welfare of an animal at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

He was sentenced to a six-month community order, ordered to carry out 60 days’ unpaid work and pay £100 compensation.

Smart admitted failing to ensure the welfare of an animal. She was sentenced to a six-month community order with supervision and ordered to attend a women’s programme for six days.

Both were also banned from keeping animals for two years and have six weeks to get rid of their remaining dogs.

PC Natalie Charman said: “This is good news for residents of Manea who had to put up with dogs running wild in the neighbourhood.

“The couple were clearly over-run by the sheer number of dogs they had taken in and were unable to look after them. Hopefully this will allow them to be more sensible pet owners in the future.”

The RSPCA will attend the address after six weeks to ensure all the dogs have been removed.

RSPCA Inspector Jon Knight said: “We are satisfied with the sentence handed out and we hope it sends out a clear message to dog owners that they have a responsibility by law to keep their animals under control.”

Terrified neighbours had formed an action group to demand that the authorities do something to stop the dog attacks.

Lesley Kennedy, who helped formed the group, told The Cambs Times in May: “This isn’t a vigilante group. We have put up with this for six years and we are really at the end of our tether.

“I’m afraid that one day something dreadful is going to happen. I didn’t want to sit around thinking we should have done something and so we formed the group.

“If you got everyone together who had been attacked by these dogs you would need to hire the village hall.”

Smallholder Caroline Mills called the police when one of the dogs savaged her animals in an attack in May.

She said: “I went up to my field and saw my sheep were behaving unusually. I carried on walking and saw what I thought was a wolf.

“I could see one dead lamb and the rest of the sheep were cornered in a pen. The dog approached me and I was cornered, I didn’t know what to do so I rang 999.”

Police arrived and cornered the dog using a net and shield.

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