A mentally-ill woman has been banned from keeping animals after the RSPCA discovered her dead and badly neglected pets in disgusting conditions at her former home.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Thursday, February 25, how Jade Lawman, 25, had left more than five animals to rot in the faeces-riddled home with three poorly, emaciated dogs and a cat.
Prosecuting solicitor Andy Cash said the RSPCA had visited the home on Hipley Close, Chesterfield, in October, last year, after complaints had been received about a smell and flies coming from the property.
Mr Cash added: “The RSPCA was called to the property because of reports of smells and they could not gain access and in October they called again because of bad smells and flies causing a nuisance and access was gained.
“On entry, RSPCA Inspector Dave McAdam described the smell as a stench of dog faeces and death.”
Mr Cash revealed that a dead cat, snake, hedgehog, gerbils and a rat had been left to rot for so long that their bodies could not be examined to establish how they had died.
Three husky-type dogs were also found severely emaciated, according to Mr Cash, with an under-nourished cat in poor health.
Mr Cash added that the spine and ribs of one of the dogs were showing, another one of the dogs had over-grown nails and the other had a urinary infection and an eye infection.
Lawman told Insp McAdam that she put the neglect down to her difficulties with anxiety and depression and she accepted the conditions at her former home were disgusting.
The defendant, of Victoria Grove, Brimington, Chesterfield, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to three dogs, failing to protect one of the dogs with an eye condition from suffering, and failing to keep the three dogs and a cat in a suitable environment.
No charges were brought concerning the deceased animals, according to Mr Cash, because their bodies had become so deteriorated it was not possible to establish a cause of death.
The probation service stated that Lawman had said she was suffering with extreme poor mental health and anxiety and the dead animals had died from old age and she was unable to dispose of their bodies.
Defence solicitor John Wilford said: “The background to this case is that Miss Lawman suffers with terrible anxiety and there were two hospital appointments for mental health problems and after failing to deal with matters she moved back to her parents’ address.
“This is not a lady who would want to be deliberately cruel. She cared for these animals but her mental state meant she couldn’t keep the animals and they suffered.”
Magistrates sentenced Lawman to 18 weeks of custody suspended for 18 months and she was banned from keeping animals for life.
She was also ordered to pay £300 costs and an £80 victim surcharge after the offences committed between September and October, last year.
Following the hearing, RSPCA Insp Dave McAdam said: “The conditions at this home were appalling and were the worst I have ever seen in over 25 years.
“This case sends out a message to others not to keep animals unless they can look after them properly.
“People need to do their research and consider what they can and can’t do before they decide to keep any animals especially those that require specific care.
“If things do get out of control people also need to speak to a vet and the RSPCA as soon as possible.”