Animal worker who claimed she ‘rescued’ “neglected” animals charged with theft


A CHARITY worker who says she ‘rescued’ “neglected” animals, was later charged with theft and subsequently lost out on vital funding.

Rebecca Culverwell was sent by Wigan Council to attend Patricia and Jonathan Mahon’s home last October to give temporary support as they moved.

She claims to have found one dog with a large tumour on it’s foot after taking the animals into Social Care Animals Wigan CIC in Greater Manchester

However, eight months later Rebecca was charged with theft of two dogs, a cat and five kittens after refusing to return the animals to the disabled couple.

One dog was found with a large tumour on it’s foot

Following this, Wigan Council ceased “involvement” with the charity after discovering they had been “withholding” the return of animals to their owners.

The Mahon’s claim vets advised them not to go ahead with surgery if the dog wasn’t bothered by the mass, but to keep an eye on him.

Rebecca uploaded images of the animals to Facebook on June 25 which shows ‘Remus’ with a tumour on it’s foot.

She highlighted that she was still waiting for vet records from the Mahons to prove thier claim.

She wrote: “This poor boy had suffered for years and the tumour had entwined itself throughout his paw making every movement agony. He couldn’t bare his weight and was full of infection but showed no aggression.”

The Mahon’s claim vets advised them not to go ahead with surgery if the dog wasn’t bothered by the mass

Rebecca then explained that due to the complex nature of the growth the only only option was to amputate his leg, but the cancer had already spread.

She added: “As much of the Grade 3 tumour was removed allowing him to live his final months, with some normality, love and pain free.

“He was given 3-6 months life expectancy in November and is on borrowed time due to the regrowth of the untreated tumour for 5 years.”

The pictures show a large growth on his left foot that appears to be very red and inflamed looking covering the right hand side of the paw.

Rebecca was charged with theft of two dogs, a cat and five kittens after refusing to return the animals

Rebecca also claimed “all animals were starving” when they were collected.

She said: “A vet cannot give an owner advise without seeing the animal involved.

“The cat and kittens who we were informed by Mr Mahon were seven weeks old were still trying to feed from their mum, had no treatment for fleas or worms and were in fact 12-13 weeks old. They were hidden on the barge in a mesh carrier which stunk of urine with no bedding.

“We aren’t funded by the council they stopped paying us for looking after residents in the borough pets that they referred to us.

Despite the initial charge, the Crown Prosecution Service has now dropped the case arguing it is a civil matter.

The couple are now trying to raise the funds to take the CPS to court in the event their appeal is upheld and have denied Rebecca’s claims.

Patricia, 58, said: “He showed no sign of being bothered by the lump on his foot. As he was 10, arguable operation could cause more harm.

“It seems ridiculous. Rebecca told the police she kept our animals from us. The police and RSPCA found no evidence that our animals were ill treated in our care. She admitted theft.

“She clearly wasn’t about my animals wellbeing, as all the sites and vet advice we had been given, was to keep kittens with mum at least till after 12 weeks, finished feeding, and then injections. We were doing it right.”

Wigan Council confirmed they have cut ties with Rebecca’s charity.

A spokesman said: “We ceased our involvement with the charity after we became aware they had been withholding pets from being returned to their owners.

“They do not have the standing to make this judgement and it has understandably been very distressing for some residents who we are still supporting.”

A spokesman for the CPS said: “Having carefully considered the case a decision has been made that this is not an appropriate case to be dealt with in the criminal courts.

“The matter should be resolved through the civil courts and therefore the charge has been withdrawn.”