East Lancs woman jailed over animals’ suffering in horrific conditions

Blackburn Citizen: Scenes from the house where the RSPCA said animals including dogs, birds and ferrets were being kept in unsuitable conditions Scenes from the house where the RSPCA said animals including dogs, birds and ferrets were being kept in unsuitable conditions

AN ‘animal-mad’ woman who neglected more than 30 pets she kept in horrific conditions at her filthy and stinking East Lancashire home, has been given a 60-day jail term.

Burnley magistrates heard the woman had 14 dogs and 16 ferrets, as well as several cockatiels and budgerigars in her three-bedroomed home and all were suffering.

Animals were forced into cages which were too small and had no bedding, food or water and 13 ferrets were running loose.

Many animals were emaciated, including two starving polecats, with discoloured feet from urine. One ferret and three birds were found dead and 11 dogs had a stomach infection which can spread to humans.

Earlier this year the woman was jailed for two years for neglecting her four-year-old son, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who was also living in the house. Police and RSPCA inspectors were shocked by what they saw but the woman, said to have been depressed, refused to sign over the dogs to the charity.

Chris Wyatt, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “She described them as her babies. She wouldn’t sign them over because she didn’t want to lose them."

The bench said there was a high degree of neglect.

The defendant admitted two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and five of not taking reasonable steps to ensure welfare of an animal. She was banned from owning or keeping all animals for 10 years and cannot apply for the disqualification to be removed for five years.

Mr Wyatt said when a police officer went to the house the defendant was reluctant to let him in. In the property were 16 ferrets and 14 dogs. He alerted the RSPCA. The prosecutor added: “The police officer said it was the most shocking house he had been inside in 12 years.”

The defendant told RSPCA officers she walked the dogs and denied animals had been left without food and water. She signed the birds and ferrets over and refused to sign the dogs over, but had since done so.

Deborah Morgan, defending, said: “She’s very remorseful. She has always loved animals. She wasn't really capable of looking after herself, never mind the animals.”

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