A FATHER and daughter who kept 27 pets in squalid conditions have been banned from keeping animals for life after a dog and cat had to be destroyed.
Colin Hill, 65, and his 31-year-old daughter Lisa claimed they crammed the animals into the tiny terraced home in Pine Street, Millfield, ‘out of kindness’, Sunderland magistrates heard.
The pair had previously admitted causing unnecessary suffering to border collie Patch and a black and white cat between April and June last year.
They also pleaded guilty to four counts of failing to ensure the welfare of a total of five dogs and 22 cats during the same period.
The pair were back in court for sentencing yesterday where they were also handed suspended jail terms.
RSPCA prosecutor Denise Jackman said 10-year-old Patch was found when Lisa Hill tried to hide him in her bedroom. He was suffering from severe paralysis and his fur was matted and stained with urine and faces.
The cat was found covered in faeces in the rear yard, and its hind legs were so damaged it fell over several times when it tried to stand up.
Colin Hill said he had not noticed there was a problem.
Both animals were put to sleep.
The other animals were covered in urine and faeces, some were underweight and some were overweight, had dental disease, matted fur and claws that were too long.
A Jack Russell dog called Bruno was unable to walk properly as his hind legs had turned inwards.
Mrs Jackman said RSPCA inspectors described the smell of ammonia in the house as ‘intolerable’ and that the floor had lifted due to liquid damage, with the back yard covered in ‘layers of faeces’.
All the animals were signed over to the RSPCA.
Gavin Sword, defending, said the offences were born out of kindness, the pair having taken in unwanted animals.
“The impression that one gets is that they were simply overwhelmed by the number of animals,” he said.
“This was a two-bedroom house with three adults living in it and nearly 30 animals. It’s clearly not adequate.
“When someone had an animal that wasn’t wanted they could take it to the Hills’. Ironically that was done out of kindness and goodness on their part, because they didn’t want the alternative.
“They accept in hindsight that they should have sought veterinary attention, and, given their benefits status they could have gone to the PDSA.”
Mr Sword said that the pair had been left in fear of vigilante attacks after appearing in the press and were scared to go out at night, adding that it had been a punishment in itself.
Suspending the three-month prison sentences for one year, bench chairwoman Jean Brown said the pair would have to wait 10 years before appealing the life-time ban on keeping animals.
They will be subject to a year’s supervision and were ordered to each pay £1,359 in costs, at a rate of £10 per week.
Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Tony Jackman said: “I was horrified and amazed at how many animals were in this really small property. There wasn’t enough space for them to move around properly. The smell was overpowering.”