An Essex man has been banned from keeping animals after 50 were discovered in horrific conditions, with some living with untreated fractures while others were discovered in “inches” of faeces.
RSPCA rescue officers found 44 ferrets, four foxes, three jackdaws, two pigeons and two crows living in filthy conditions in cages, pet carriers and crates. Inspectors described the smell of faeces to be overwhelming and in some cases inches thick.
David Robert Thompson, 51, of Harwich Road, Colchester, was sentenced on April 1 at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to two animal welfare offences contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at an earlier hearing.
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RSPCA Inspector Emma Beynon, who led the investigation for the animal welfare charity, said: “As I stepped inside the conservatory I could not really take in what I was seeing, the smell of faeces was overwhelming and there were so many flies. I have not seen so many flies in a house before”.
One cat carrier containing two ferrets was covered in flies and had faeces spilling out of it, as well as a fox kept in a plastic kennel crate.
Fellow Inspector Caroline Richardson added: “There was an overwhelming smell coming from the garden. I immediately recognised the smell as fox faeces, but it was stronger than I have ever smelt, despite having experienced foxes defecating in the back of my RSPCA van on numerous occasions. I found an old fox being kept in a tunnel-like enclosure, the base of which was thick with faeces and dirt.
“Two more foxes were in a dog crate attached to a plastic kennel. The whole floor of the enclosure had several inches of compacted faeces and dirt”.
The court heard Thompson had allegedly rescued the animals and was attempting to rehabilitate them. After the gruesome discovery, police seized the animals due to the horrific conditions they were being kept in.
Thompson admitted one count of failing to provide a suitable environment that was hygienic and/or free from hazards for 50 animals in his care and another count of failing to provide vet treatment for five animals.
Examinations carried out by a vet found some ferrets needed treatment, while two Jackdaws and crows had suffered fractures.
The affected birds had to be put to sleep following veterinary advice. However a crow, two pigeons, a dove and two foxes have been rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
Thompson has been disqualified from keeping all animals for three years. He has also been sentenced to a 12-month community order, with 250 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £625 costs.