Common sense ruled, and Joan Higgins, aged 66, no longer has to wear a tag like a criminal. Her son, Mark, no longer has to carry out community service. Partners in the crime of selling a goldfish – valued at £1.50 – to a child aged under 16. Mrs Higgins was entrapped by trading standards officers who staged an undercover sting at her pet shop. They were also accused of causing unnecessary suffering to a cockatiel at the shop by failing to provide appropriate care and treatment.
Charged under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, they both pleaded guilty. Mrs Higgins was required to observe a curfew from 7pm to 6am, hence the electronic tag. Her son was ordered to carry out 120 hours’ community service.
Following an outcry, they returned to court where Judge Smith quashed the curfew on Mrs Higgins, as well as the community service order on her son because of his poor health. Instead he imposed a 12-month conditional discharge on both, describing the punishment as ‘inappropriate’ for ‘a respectable lady with no previous convictions’.
So-called professional care workers in a careless Care UK care home neglect a very respectable, gentle 80-year old lady to such an extent that she died as a result of their sub-standard care. She was a solidly reliable, law-abiding citizen and never harmed a goldfish or a cockatiel in her life. Her value far exceeded any number of goldfish or cockatiels. The local authority carries out an investigation. Irresponsible staff are ‘allowed to resign’. The ‘dust-collectors’ are despatched en masse to the care home to suck up every single speck of dirt they can possibly find. All behind closed doors – in secret, concealed and filed away.
A Trading Standards Department for Elderly Care would have resulted in a few people being charged with causing ‘unnecessary suffering‘ to an elderly person ‘by failing to provide appropriate care and treatment‘. We have the Human Rights Act, but where’s the Human Welfare Act when you need it? Where are the rights of a dead person’s family to be given the full information they need to evaluate all the circumstances of the neglect their relative suffered? How low can a local authority sink? Self-preservation at all costs seems to be their motto. The same could be said for one of the biggest care providers in England.
All will be revealed. In the public interest, and in the name of caring care for the elderly.