#TheList former vet Gary James Cassius Samuel, born 09/06/1966, of Weston Road, Enfield EN2 0QD and vets’ assistant Rochelle McEwan, born 18/03/1987 of Stonecliffe Close, Leeds LS12 5BJ – kept 22 huskies and eight cats in a squalid cellar
Gary James Cassius Samuel and partner Rochelle McEwan were convicted of animal cruelty after officers discovered 22 dogs and eight cats in the back room, living quarters and basement of Armley Vets, on Town Street, in Armley, Leeds.
In February 2015 police were called to the property after a 999 call reported that Samuel was threatening McEwan with a hammer.
When they arrived they found husky type dogs living in dirty, overcrowded cages, which were kept below a trap door that was covered by a carpet and a table.
The animals also had very little water and police officers who searched the building said there was a strong smell of urine and faeces.
Officers also found three cats in the back room. They were described as ‘skin and bone’ and one of them had to be euthanised.
The police called the RSPCA and some animals were removed from the house that night.
Three further dogs had to be put down on veterinary advice.
Samuel claimed that McEwan collected the dogs and he wasn’t happy about them being kept in the cellar, but they weren’t his responsibility. This wasn’t accepted by the court, however, and he was convicted of all charges.
RSPCA inspector Nikki Cheetham said: “I’ve seen a lot of shocking things working for the RSPCA but I would certainly never have expected to deal with something like this.
“People who work in the veterinary profession are the first port of call if an animal needs help. It is unthinkable to consider what was going on in this surgery as clients were coming and going, paying their vet fees.
“Dogs and cats were in a back room, the vet’s living quarters and a basement, accessed by a trapdoor in the floor that had been hidden by a piece of carpet – that’s where most of the dogs were found. They were in cages covered in faeces, with no access to food or water, in the pitch black. It was like a dungeon.”
Ms Cheetham said most of the dogs were Husky-types, with the exception of two Chinese crested dogs. Adult dogs were in the basement while puppies were found shut in one of the rooms, with most of the cats in another.
She said 21 animals – 15 dogs and six cats – have already been re-homed from RSPCA centres and branches in County Durham, York, Liverpool, Chester, Leeds and Harrogate.
In July 2018 Samuel was struck off after the disciplinary committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons ruled that he was unfit to practise as a veterinary surgeon.
Samuel – 12-week suspended prison sentence; 150 hours of unpaid work; total of £700 fine and costs. Banned from keeping animals for life. Barred from practising as a veterinary surgeon.
McEwan – 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months; 150 hours of unpaid work; £250 costs. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.