AN RSPCA officer called to a Wigan home found animals in the direst condition she had ever seen, a court heard.
It was social services staff who raised an animal welfare alarm after visiting Tracey Evans and James Green in Hindley.
Prosecutor Tony Stock told Wigan and Leigh justices that officer Ann-Marie Atherton reported that she had never seen animals in a worse state. Rabbits in three garden hutches were emaciated and dehydrated from sustained neglect with dead and decomposing animals left alongside the living ones. Officer Atherton requested that another rabbit, whose eye was missing, be put down.
The animal weighed less than half its optimum weight and also showed signs of a lung infection and pneumonia. Inside the home, three puppies were housed in a “completely unsuitable” training cage. A bearded dragon, kept in an ill-heated vivarium, was thin and cold to the touch. Two kittens had a distressing ear mite condition that led to further infection.
For Evans Bob Topping said his client, who had been suffering from depression, deeply regretted her actions and had admitted guilt despite being convicted in her absence at an earlier trial, adding: “My client has seen the photos and I can offer you remorse in bucketfuls.”
For Green Colin Rawson said his client struggled with learning difficulties and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. He said: “This pair were looking after three children and 10 or 11 animals in that house and it is obvious the animals have been left to one side. They were inadequate to take on such responsibility.”
Sentencing Evans, of Wooddagger Close, Hindley, and Green, of no fixed address, the chairman of the bench said: “We consider this level of neglect as appalling. It is disgusting behaviour. We have considered custodial sentences very seriously.”
Green received a 12-month community order with a requirement to undertake 100 hours’ unpaid work. Evans received a six-month community order and ordered to take a women’s special activity requirement course. Each will also pay £310 costs.