#TheList Steven Riddell, born 22/09/1971, of 38 Park Green, Erskine PA8 7HJ – kept mice, rats and rabbits in appalling conditions to feed to his pet snakes
Animal cruelty inspectors found 130 creatures, including mice, rats and rabbits, kept in filthy conditions by father-of-four Steven Riddell.
Riddell used his greenhouse to breed the rodents as “live” food for the 50 snakes which filled a room of his home.
A seasoned SSPCA inspector was sickened by what they found at Riddell’s mid-terraced house in Erskine, following a tip-off in April 2014.
It was stifling inside as a tarpaulin had been used to cover the virtual tomb in which the mice and rats were found, providing little ventilation or natural light to enter. Many were dead, dying, dehydrated, starving and stuck in their own faeces.
One of the inspectors could only remain inside for a brief moment as she had difficulty breathing.
One cage, which weighed 2kg (4lb) when clean and empty, was caked with a solid mass of droppings mixed with bedding that weighed almost 14kg (31lb).
Callous Riddell freely admitted he had seen the rodents as a cheap source of food for his prized snakes which, by comparison, appeared to be well cared for.
It was, said one of the investigators, “a night and day” situation.
Inside the greenhouse, rats and mice, some with young which were lying on top of faeces, and one half-entrapped in compacted droppings, were kept in squalor in cages stacked from floor to ceiling.
Two mice were alive but paralysed, while others were dead or dying.
In some of the cages, faeces and urine were found to be six to eight inches in depth.
The only traces of drinking water found was coated in green algae.
Some of the rats and mice were found to have bite and scratch marks and others had parts of their tails missing.
Many had respiratory problems and some were poking their noses out of gaps as they desperately tried to get a gasp of fresh air.
Rabbits, which were kept in similarly disgusting conditions in a nearby hutch, had been family pets.
They too, were found to be neglected and their coats were stained yellow from urine.
Riddell pleaded guilty to two contraventions of the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act of causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide adequate care, nutrition, water and clean bedding
When quizzed by officers, unemployed Riddell accepted the conditions were disgusting and unacceptable but maintained he had “taken his eye off the ball” due to a series of family problems.
He said he knew that some of them were in poor health but hadn’t sought veterinary attention as they were “only food for my reptiles”.
A senior SSPCA inspector later said that in all of her many years of service, she had never seen animals being kept in such atrocious conditions.
She said she had felt disgusted to think that Riddell “saw them as nothing more than a cheap food source for his reptiles”, which appeared to be well cared for inside his house.
It was stated that Riddell had agreed to hand over ownership of all of the animals, many of which were put down, although some were nursed back to good health and re-homed.
Sentencing: jailed for 150 days and banned indefinitely from keeping animals except for the family dog.