#TheList Robert Roy Rickman, born c. 1972, and wife Ceri Ann Rickman, born c. 1985, both of Parc Newydd, Briton Ferry SA11 2UP (previously Groves Road, Cimla, Neath) – lived in abject squalor with 15 cats and two dogs
The Rickmans both previously admitted causing unnecessary suffering to 15 domestic cats, and failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of two dogs were met.
An RSPCA officer attended the couple’s previous address at 46 Groves Road in June 2017, and found flea-ridden and underweight cats roaming the filthy property.
Two dogs – one brindle lurcher and a collie-cross – were also living at the home – a “wholly inappropriate environment” in which their needs were clearly not met.
RSPCA inspectors found piles of rubbish filling the rooms, human and animal faeces and urine on the floors throughout the property, filth and grime on virtually every surface, and a “repellent smell”.
The court heard Robert, who had previously gone by the name Robert Ford, has a previous conviction from 1998 for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal under the old Protection of Animals Act 1911.
Steve Harrett, for the couple, said his clients both had limitations which had led to the conditions found in the house.
Speaking about his visit to the property, RSPCA Inspector Neill Manley said: “This was a thoroughly grim and hugely challenging case, in some of the worst conditions I have witnessed in my entire life.
“I arrived at the property on one of the hottest days of the year, and was shell-shocked at the squalid conditions in which animals were living.
“Cats roamed the house in a truly horrendous condition, while two dogs were clearly being kept in a wholly inappropriate environment.
“The property was totally infested with fleas, and a number of the cats had developed an allergic reaction which was not treated. It’s a timely reminder as to the importance of seeking veterinary attention in such situations as soon as possible.
“Across the house, there were plastic bottles or urine, plus cardboard boxes filled with faeces and spread across the floors.
“The condition of the animals was absolutely heartbreaking, and it beggars all belief that anyone deemed it acceptable to keep animals in such filthy, squalid surroundings.
“Fortunately, the RSPCA’s intervention ensured all animals were signed into our care – and could go on for rehoming, and a second chance of happiness. That happy outcome is a reminder as to the exact reason why the RSPCA exists.”
12-month community order with a rehabilitation requirement; £300 each towards costs. Banned from keeping any animal for 10 years (expires January 2028).