A woman has been jailed for 18 weeks and banned for life from owning any animals after starving a house full of pets to death in Melton.
Emma Clark (28) admitted causing unnecessary suffering to three dogs, two cats, two rabbits, two snakes and a lizard over a period of nearly four months.
Magistrates sitting in Leicester were today (Friday) shown distressing DVD footage of RSPCA inspectors finding the decaying and mummified animals in Clark’s former home in St Peter’s Walk on March 8. Some of the animals were thought to have been dead for up to five months before they were found.
The court heard that Clark had lied to people saying the animals had been rehomed when, in reality, they had been left in the home, some locked in cages, to starve.
Chairman of magistrates Anthony Whitmore said it was ‘one of the worst and most serious cases he’d ever seen’.
Prosecutor Kevin McCole, representing the RSPCA, told the court that inspectors had visited the house on numerous occasions in November and December, following allegations there were three dogs being kept there but not being attended to, but there was no reply and they couldn’t see or hear any dogs.
One neighbour told an inspector they hadn’t seen any animals at the property for about six weeks.
When Clark did get in touch with inspectors she told them she was still living at the property and that she’d rehomed the dogs. On February 13 she told an inspector she only had one cat at the address.
The court heard the grisly discovery of the dead animals was made when Clark’s ex-partner visited the house on March 8.
Mr McCole said: “He could smell something rotting when he got to the back door. He pushed the door open to be greeted by an horrific sight.”
Magistrates heard how inspectors found the decaying animals in different parts of the house, with used tea bags stacked up against one of the decomposing dogs.
Mr McCole added: “There was no evidence of any water available for any of the severely emaciated animals. The defendant’s parents were shocked and horrified when the RSPCA spoke to them. They had been led to believe the animals had been re-homed at an earlier stage but the evidence showed that wasn’t the case. The animals had died while in the defendant’s care and control.”
When Clark was interviewed by police she confirmed she was responsible for all the animals but told them she’d been having serious family problems and that ‘everything just went wrong’ from then on.
Mr McCole said: “She had just given up. She returned to the house from time to time but hadn’t provided food, sustainance or water for the animals.”
Addressing the magistrates herself earlier today, a teary-eyed Clark said: “I didn’t want any of these things to happen.”
In addition to her 18-week prison sentence and life ban on owning animals Clark, of no fixed abode, was ordered to pay £300 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
Speaking after the sentencing RSPCA inspector Sheona Morley said: “Whatever sentence she got nothing is going to undo the suffering caused to those poor animals. There’s no excuse for that kind of cruelty.”