A couple who kept 19 dogs have lost a family court fight for the return of their two children.
The children – aged 10 and five – were placed into foster care nearly three years ago after a family court judge concluded that they had been subjected to “very serious and wide-ranging neglect”. Judge John Rylance had heard that “home conditions were indescribably filthy” and “utterly squalid”.
He was told that the children’s mother had been prosecuted by the RSPCA and banned from keeping dogs for four years.
Earlier this month the couple, both in their 50s, had asked another judge to discharge care orders and order the return of the children. They told Judge Peter Nathan that home conditions had improved and their house was now “cleanly and neatly decorated”. The mother said that when the ban ended she would only have one or two dogs.
But Nathan dismissed their application for the discharge of care orders after a private hearing at a family court in Guildford, Surrey.
The judge said in a ruling that he could place “no reliance on anything the mother says” about her for future plans for keeping dogs. He accepted that the state of the couple’s house had improved but said there was “real danger” it could deteriorate again.
Nathan said the couple loved their children. He also said the mother resented “social services, police and authority” and wished to prove them wrong.
The judge said she had repeatedly spoken of going to an open court where the media would be present. She had said she would write a book about the case – and had the offer of a film.
Nathan said the father was paranoid and had complained about police, social workers, teachers and the RSPCA conspiring because they were “jealous of his lifestyle”.
No one involved was identified.