Woman kept cats in filthy conditions
A woman was caught keeping six cats in a filthy flat –despite being banned from owning any pets at all.
An RSPCA inspector visited Deryl Guest’s flat at Romany Steps on the Woodgrange Estate, Southend, following a tip-off and found her place in a terrible mess.
Guest, 45, admitted a breach of the ban and a charge, under the Animal Welfare Act, of failing to keep the cats in a suitable living environment. She has now been banned from keeping any pets for ten years.
RSPCA Inspector Matt Gough, speaking after the hearing at Southend Magistrates’ Court, said: “I found the cats in squalid conditions. There were flies buzzing around, there was a strong stench of ammonia and faeces.
“The floor and surfaces were dirty and stained so the cats definitely deserved a better environment, as would any animal.”
But the court heard, despite the conditions, the cats were in a reasonable condition.
Guest had been banned from owning pets in 2008 following similar convictions relating to a Yorkshire Terrier called Roxy.
It was supposed to last for ten years, but in February 2011 an RSPCA inspector visited and found two cats which were in good condition, but were taken away.
They did not pursue a prosecution then because they believed she was confused about the ban and thought it only applied to dogs.
Then, in July, she called the RSPCA to take away some cats that had been dumped on her.
The third time was on March 13 when she was found with four cats she said she was looking after for neighbours who had been moved by police because they were witnesses to a stabbing.
They have now been rehomed.
She also had her nephew’s two kittens who are now back with him.
Paul Vickers, mitigating, said she had been struggling with post-traumatic stress order and depression after becoming a victim of crime.
He added: “You’ve got a background of a vulnerable woman.”
He said there was added pressure because her son, daughter-in-law and their two young children were also living with her at the time.
They are still living there while they pay off rent arrears.
Guest was given an 18-month community order and a Thinking Skills programme.
The court heard the case had cost £550 for the RSPCA prosecution and £371 in court costs. But she was only ordered to pay £200 compensation to the charity because she is on benefits.
Source: Southend Standard
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