Couple banned from keeping animals after cats found locked in filthy cages

·3-min read
The animals were found locked in tiny faeces-ridden cages at a home in Essex. (SWNS)
The animals were found locked in tiny faeces-ridden cages at a home in Essex. (SWNS)

A couple have been banned from owning animals for 15 years after their pets were kept in "totally unsuitable" conditions in cages, covered in their own faeces.

Alan Turner, 56, and his wife Sue Turner, 60, admitted several animal welfare offences at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court, where they were sentenced on Wednesday.

An RSPCA veterinary report heard the couple, from Jaywick, Essex, were keeping nine cats in tiny, filthy cages, covered in faeces, with little or no food or water.

An inspector for the animal welfare charity who attended the address in February 2020 described seeing "cats piled high", and an "overwhelming" smell that left him struggling to breathe.

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The couple were banned from keeping pets for 15 years. (SWNS)
The couple were banned from keeping pets for 15 years. (SWNS)
The couple were keeping nine cats in small cages, with little or no food or water. (SWNS)
The couple were keeping nine cats in small cages, with little or no food or water. (SWNS)

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The Turners were also found to be keeping several dogs in unsuitable conditions - including a terrier called Dudley who was suffering from dental issues, skin disease, and dry eye.

The vet report heard there was a total of 14 animals living at the property - despite Sue Turner claiming she only had two cats, which were confined to one of the bedrooms.

RSPCA inspector Adam Jones, who investigated, said: "This was a sad case which saw multiple animals living in totally unsuitable conditions.

"The cats were kept inside cramped and filthy cages, and terrier Dudley was suffering from a skin condition which covered his back end and was clearly causing him pain."

Inspector Jones first attended the address on 17 January, 2020 - and "immediately" noticed Dudley, a small grey and white terrier dog.

He said: "His skin is best described as resembling an elephant. It was grey, thick, wrinkly and tough.”

After the visit, Dudley was taken to be checked over by a vet who found live fleas on his body and worms in his faeces.

The vet report continued: "I believe medical treatment should have been sought by the owner and that they did not meet this dog's needs."

Inspector Jones returned to the property with police a month later, on 14 February, as he still had concerns about reports that multiple cats were living in cages inside the house.

He added: "There were seven cages approximately 3ft x 2ft containing nine cats. The litter trays were overflowing, piled with faeces and urine."

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Terrier Dudley was found suffering from dental issues, skin disease and dry eye. (SWNS)
Terrier Dudley was found suffering from dental issues, skin disease and dry eye. (SWNS)

In mitigation, the couple said they had difficult personal circumstances, including disabilities and financial hardship.

The pair were banned from keeping all animals for 15 years and cannot contest for at least five years.

Alan Turner was also ordered to pay costs of £1,000 and a £95 victim surcharge, as well as a 12-month community order and 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirements.

Sue Turner was ordered to pay costs of £1,500, a £95 victim surcharge and 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement, as well as a 12-month community order.

There was also a deprivation order in place for the remaining two dogs, Spangles and Amber, who had not been signed over to be rehomed by the RSPCA at the time.

They will now come into the charity's care to be rehomed.