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Local News

Couple left cats living in ‘years’ worth of filth

today05/06/2021

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A couple have been banned from keeping animals after cats and horses were found in “abhorrent” conditions.

The couple, from Dronfield near Sheffield, were found to be keeping 31 cats and 28 horses locked up in caravans, trailers and makeshift pens that were full of years-worth of faeces.

Judy Shaw, 48 and Peter Hardy, 58 kept the animals on land near their home in conditions that an RSPCA inspector has described as “abhorrent”.

Some of the cats were found locked in an old tractor cab with no food or water, while others were found in an old caravan that was covered in tarpaulin with no natural light or ventilation.

The areas that the cats were kept in were all full of faeces and, in some cases, there was so much waste that the floors were not even visible.

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In her statement describing the caravan, RSPCA inspector Rachel Leafe said: “This environment was completely abhorrent.

“There were months and months if not years of faeces inside, all areas were covered in a deep layer of faeces and there was mould all over it.

“The stench was chemical in nature and completely overpowering. I did not fully go in but even from the door it was difficult to breathe and my eyes watered.

“There was some water put in a black container on top of the faeces but there were no bowls I could see leading me to think that the food was just thrown on top of the faeces.

“There was a window however this was covered with what appeared to be a curtain and inside was very dark. There was essentially no natural light or any ventilation for them. “

The horses and ponies had dangerously overgrown hooves
The horses and ponies had dangerously overgrown hooves
(Image: RSPCA)

An independent veterinary expert said in her witness statement that the build up of faeces must have taken place over several years to get so deep.

She said: “There was also mould and fungus everywhere. It is the worst environment I have ever seen in 34 years of doing my job.”

The 28 horses were kept in similar conditions in makeshift pens which were also full of faeces and rubbish, including the skulls and remains of other dead equines.

The horses and ponies were in poor condition with many underweight and suffering from flea and worm infestations alongside dangerously overgrown hooves.

Describing one makeshift pen holding two ponies, inspector Leafe said: “The whole area looked unsafe as it was a number of gates/pallets tied together with string holding in approximately four feet of faeces so the ponies towered above me.

“There were two water buckets with a small amount of water in. There was no hay, no bedding and no dry standing. The shelter was divided into two but neither pony could get inside properly as they touched the roof.”

The vet added: “The overall picture for the equines of rubbish piled up, deep faeces in stables, incorrect disposal of bodies, numerous untreated health problems and ponies kept in groups where the weakest were allowed to become weaker without being attended to paints a depressing scene of equine animal management.

The equines were stood in around 4 feet of faeces
The equines were stood in around 4 feet of faeces
(Image: RSPCA)

“The conditions that the cats were kept in were so appalling I cannot believe how anyone could think this was appropriate to keep cats in this manner.

“It is appalling to see such animals in these conditions on such a scale. All of the issues could have been so easily resolved by correct management, basic husbandry such as flea and worm treatment, fresh water and feeding.

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Shaw was found guilty of 10 charges relating to animal welfare offences including causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of animals, while Hardy was found guilty of 11.

At their sentencing hearing at Chesterfield Magistrates Court the pair, of Dorset Close, Unstone, Dronfield were also ordered to pay £1200 costs and a £90 victim surcharge each.

They were also handed a 12-month community order including 24 weeks curfew from 7pm to 7am.

The horses and cats in RSPCA care will be found homes once the appeal period has expired.

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Written by: Rother Radio News


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today05/06/2021