A woman from Bacup, Lancashire, was handed an indefinite ban from keeping animals after severely malnourished and neglected animals, as well as the carcasses of dead dogs and cats, were found at her property. The woman, Amy Youll, was also handed a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 24 months, and ordered to carry out 25 RAR days.
A cat and eight dogs – a mixture of terriers and crossbreeds who were all matted and underweight – were rescued from the house by the RSPCA on 18 September 2021. On that occasion, the decomposed remains of a pet rodent were also found inside a cage.
RSPCA inspector Will Lamping said, “The property was awful, with rubbish and debris strewn throughout. I struggled to walk through the house as there was waste and rubbish everywhere.
“There were old dog faeces over all the floors and surfaces, including the kitchen worktops. In some areas, particularly the upstairs landing and stairs, the faeces was so thick that it covered the entire floor, forcing the person to have to walk across it.
“The smell of urine and rubbish in the house was terrible and at many times overpowering. On a table in one room I found a large number of maggots. I could not see any food, water or clean rest area provided anywhere in the house for the animals.”
All the dogs were anaemic and extremely thin, with matted fur and overgrown claws, as well as smelling strongly of urine and faeces. They were also infested with fleas. A vet later concluded that the animals had been starved; some where so frightened that they had to be carried outside.
However, this was not the end of it. Less than two weeks later, on 30 September 2021, RSPCA was once again contacted by the private contractor brought in to clean the property. As they carried out the cleaning operations, they found the rotting carcasses of five dogs in the backyard, as well as “severed parts of the remains of ‘many’ cats inside”.
“The dogs had been placed in carrier bags, boxes and planters and were heavily infested with maggots,” a RSPCA statement reads. “Skulls, jaws and teeth were visible, but such was the state of decomposition, it was not possible to tell how the animals had died.”
RSPCA inspector Alison Fletcher said, “The scene was highly distressing to view and I would have to say one of the worst things I have visited within my 20 years of working with the RSPCA. The smell in the area was extremely strong and could be tasted on the throat. I instantly recognised the smell of decaying carcasses. I was advised that each of the bodies were exactly as they were found, contained within a bag, box or planter, but that each of them had been found piled under the rubbish and debris.”
Youll, who denied three animal welfare offences, was found guilty at a trial in her absence last October. In court, she was said to suffer from “poor mental health”, and reportedly “struggled to look after herself, let alone her pets”. Another defendant in the case was sentenced last November after pleading guilty to two animal welfare offences and was banned from keeping all animals for eight years.
All nine animals rescued from the property have since made a full recovery and have been rehomed.