A COUPLE who allowed their Chipmunks to die from malnutrition and kept the rest of their pets in squalid conditions have been banned from keeping animals for ten years.

The emaciated bodies of the five pet Chipmunks were found in cages as the RSPCA searched their filthy home in Ushaw Moor, County Durham, on August 9 last year.

Darlington Magistrates' Court heard police were initially called after reports of a domestic incident between 20-year-old Becky Carr, now of Chandos Street, Darlington, and her ex-partner, Anthony Collins, 23, of Endrick Road, Hartlepool, at the house they had shared.

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However when officers arrived, they found the house, which was also home to two Staffordshire Bull Terriers, a four-month-old kitten, one Chipmunk which was still alive and three Corn Snakes, was filthy, with broken glass on the floor and covered in faeces and urine.

Michael Bosomworth, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “What the police found in the house was to say the least disturbing.”

RSPCA inspectors were called and the dogs, named Chico and Fizz, we found to be suffering from untreated ear infections, while Barney the kitten was underweight and had fleas and worms.

The corn snakes were also not being kept at a suitable temperature and the remaining Chipmunk had no food or water in its cage.

Mr Bosomworth said the pair had recently split up and could not agree who should look after which animal.

At an earlier hearing, the pair were found guilty in their absence of five charges of failing to ensure animal welfare and one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

Yesterday (Tuesday, February 19), Michelle Gallagher, mitigating for Collins, said: “He did try his best in very difficult circumstances but he had accepted that his best wasn’t enough.

“Their domestic situation wasn’t brilliant and they are no longer living together.”


Graham Hunsley, mitigating for Carr, said: “There was never any intention that animals should suffer.

“At the time things got to the stage they did it would be fair to say she was barely capable of looking after herself."

Magistrates sentenced them both to 12 weeks in custody, which was suspended for 12 months and disqualified them both for keeping animals for ten years. Carr was also ordered to complete 40 hours of unpaid work, while Collins was given a curfew.

Speaking after the case, RSPCA Inspector Clare Wilson said: “The house was horrendous. It was not somewhere I would want animals, and I wouldn’t expect humans to live somewhere like that.”

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