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article imagePet crematorium woman jailed for dumping bodies in field

By Lynn Curwin     Feb 2, 2011 in Crime
A woman in the UK has been sentenced to eight months in jail for dumping the bodies of pets in a field while their owners were charged for cremation.
Emma Bent, 35, of Derbyshire had a contract to collect the bodies of animals and clinical waste from a veterinary group for disposal. She also offered individual cremation.
The Environment Agency reported that she was not registered to do this work.
In August 2009, a man walking his dog noticed a horrible smell and discovered the bodies of four dogs in a drainage. He contacted the RSPCA, who notified police, the local authority and the Environment Agency.
Some of the animals were able to be identified by their microchips.
Linda Allen was one of the people who had paid to have a pet cremated through Peak Pet Cremations. Her dog Bournville had been part of her family for 12 years but he had to be euthanised when cancer spread to his eyes.
"Bournville was our family dog. He grew up with my two sons,” she told the Nottingham Post.
"It was a shock when you have made the horrendous decision to put your dog to sleep. We requested a cremation, got a phone call a week later to go and collect him and got the ashes with a certificate. Then a week later the RSPCA rang to say they had found his body. There was such disbelief.
"The certificate was signed to say she had cremated Bournville but she had sent us fake ashes."
Bent had operated an incinerator but when it broke down and she burned and buried bodies in a field she was renting.
"This case isn't just about that (environmental damage) but about what you did to people who were vulnerable and were exploited," BBC News reported that Judge David Pugsley told her in court.
"I don't regard this as mere sentimentality - what you did caused very real distress."
When the property she was renting was searched by the Environment Agency, officers from Derbyshire County Council Trading Standards and Derbyshire Police, in September 2009, they found burnt animals and clinical waste. A small metal shed in the field contained 21 green plastic bags filled with clinical waste including decomposing animals, syringes, hypodermic needles and medication.
The area was near houses and animals in a field.
“Her unlawful activity resulted in pet owners being left very distressed and saved her large sums in costs that legitimate businesses would have had to pay," an article on the government Environmental Agency website quoted Peter Rutherford, Environmental Crime Team Leader, as saying. "It also polluted the environment and was likely to cause harm to human health.”
When she was first shown photos of animal remains lying on the scorched earth she said they might be rabbits and foxes. After she was told that a vet had examined them and determined that they were cats and dogs she said she was unaware that she had burnt them.
Rutherford said the pets which could be identified and should have been cremated by Bent were individually cremated and the ashes were handed over to the owners. Other animals found on the site were cremated together.
"This was an extremely distressing case for all those involved, both pet owners and the staff who had to go through all the bags to obtain evidence for this prosecution," he said.
Ambivet Limited, as the producer of the waste, was required to ensure it was disposed of appropriately. The company was given a formal caution.
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