Published: 00:01, 05 October 2014
A cleaner has been banned from looking after cats and dogs for five years after her flea-infested pets were discovered suffering inside her filthy home.
Janet Robinson, 42, of St George’s Close, Whitstable, is unable to keep, supervise or transport the animals after pleading guilty to three charges brought by the RSPCA at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard that an investigation was launched in March following a tip-off from someone concerned for her six cats and German shepherd dog named Smokey.
An animal welfare officer visited the home and reported that she could see Smokey’s ribs, hips and backbone through his fur and the dog was also covered in fleas.
The next day RSPCA inspector Ali Edwards attended and was overpowered by the smell of ammonia - so much so that she was forced to catch her breath.
She asked Robinson if the RSPCA could take care of the animals but the offer was refused.
Sophie Read, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told the court the animals were kept in filthy conditions and needed urgent veterinary treatment.
She said: “When inspector Edwards visited the room downstairs it was very dirty and there was a strong smell of ammonia.
“The smell was so overpowering it caused her to catch her breath. Her eyes began to sting because of the fumes.
“There was cat faeces on the bed and a urine-soaked mattress.”
Robinson told the RSPCA that the room where the cats were kept was cleaned daily but days-old faeces proved that wasn’t the case.
Smokey was taken to a rehoming centre where he was described as “emaciated” weighing in at 26kg. Over the next 10 weeks he put on 8kg – a 30% weight gain.
Mark Trafford, defending, said Robinson was left to look after the dog in February 2012 after splitting up with her husband.
She owned one of the cats but was asked by a friend to look after hers after the friend suffered a relationship breakdown in September 2013.
Unbeknown to Robinson, the cat was pregnant, and she had to look after four kittens.
Mr Trafford said Robinson knew she needed to bring her animals to a vet but couldn’t afford the costs.
He said she and her 18-year-old son survived on £40 a fortnight, with extra income from a part-time cleaning job.
He said she should have asked for help before the situation worsened and that she fully accepted the living conditions were “unacceptable” after images were shown to magistrates.
He said: “These photographs speak for themselves. It is unacceptable and the defendant fully accepts that.
“It is unacceptable for her and her son to live there in those conditions, let alone the animals.”
Chairman of the bench James Cheney sentenced Robinson to a two-year conditional discharge and disqualified her from keeping cats and dogs for five years.
She was also ordered to pay £235 costs.
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