A couple from Luton who left their pets languishing in squalor without veterinary treatment have been banned from keeping animals for ten years.
Linda Gibson, 44, and her partner Lewis Little, 27, kept a menagerie of cats, dogs, snakes, gerbils, turtles and even a bearded dragon at their flat in Buxton Road.
Many welfare visits by the RSPCA noted the home was overrun with household waste, and described as “uninhabitable” by RSPCA inspector Stephanie Law.
Mrs Law even mentioned banging her head on the living room ceiling while stepping over mountains of mess.
Appearing at Luton Magistrates Court on Monday, Gibson and Little were told they presented a continuing risk to animal welfare and made to pay £310 costs each for causing unnecessary suffering to their pets.
The court heard that Mrs Law attended the couple’s address on November 25 to return a Staffordshire bull terrier named Scar after he had been neutered and fitted with a buster collar.
During the visit, Mrs Law instructed the couple how to administer medication and advised that Scar’s buster collar had to stay on to prevent him interfering with his wound.
Gibson then presented a large tabby cat named Soldier which had a hole under its right armpit.
“The wound was smelly and the flesh looked red raw,” noted the inspector. Mrs Law told her that the cat needed urgent veterinary treatment but Gibson refused to sign the cat over.
Mrs Law returned the next day, found the kitchen overflowing with rubbish and said she “could not see the floor”.
Photographs were taken and Scar was seen running between the kitchen and the yard not wearing his buster collar.
On a further visit on December 4, Mrs Law noted: “I picked Scar up and I could see the scrotum was very swollen and the sutured wound appeared to be completely torn. Mr Little told me he had removed the buster collar on the day that he returned home.”
Both animals were removed by the RSPCA and taken to the vets. Veterinary surgeon Emma Fraser stated the flesh wound in Soldier’s armpit was 4cm by 3cm and foul smelling.
She added: “This animal has been caused unnecessary suffering due to the pain ... it’s my opinion that the wound had been there for around two weeks.”
The vet examining bulldog Scar noted that the wound from his neutering operation was completely open and the stitching removed.
Both animals have since been rehomed and are understood to be doing well.
Janita Patel, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, appealed to magistrates to disqualify Gibson and Little from keeping pets.
Ms Patel said: “They are clearly not fit to look after themselves, let alone after animals.
“There’s also the worry that they didn’t have the funds to take the animals to the vet when they needed to.”
As magistrates disqualified the pair for ten years, Gibson wept. The pair said they still had two cats, two snakes and five gerbils in their home and were given 14 days to rehome them.
Little was made subject to a three-month curfew between 7pm and 7am and ten days rehabilitation activity, while Gibson was ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work.
After the verdict, RSPCA inspector Mrs Law said: “I’m happy with the outcome and it reflects the severity of the offence.”