#TheList Paula Jane Davidson, born 27/04/1979, most recently of Ashton Drive, Bristol BS3 – left two husky-type dogs and eight cats to starve in an abandoned property
Davidson pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to eight cats and two dogs by failing to provide adequate food and supervision. Five cats had died while others had survived by resorting to eating their remains. The dogs had been locked in separate rooms and were forced to sleep in their own excrement.
Magistrates viewed footage filmed by Avon and Somerset police officers after they had forced entry to the property.
During the video the officers can be heard gagging and retching as they move around the rooms. One of them says, “I can’t breathe. My eyes are hurting the smell is so bad.”
An RSPCA inspector was called to the scene and identified the carcasses of five young cats which had been eaten away by other starving cats, leaving the floor littered with fur, legs, tails and skulls attached to spinal cords.
The two huskies had been locked in a small kitchen and bathroom, both of which were inches deep in dog mess.
Kate Burnham-Davies, prosecuting, said the case showed “sustained negligence and cruelty”.
Ms Burnham-Davies described “entrails and clumps of fur strewn across the floor” with “officers unable to walk across the floor without stepping on excrement and carcasses”.
The court heard how police and the RSPCA had spoken to Davidson several times before the forced entry. Police told Davidson she could sign the animals over to the care of the RSPCA, but she did not accept the offer.
Davidson told officers she was living with a friend but returning to the house twice a day to care for the animals. However Ms Burnham-Davies said police heard from neighbours that the house had been deserted for days or even weeks.
Davidson’s solicitor said that his client’s mental health was a key factor in the case. He said that she had been sectioned after the death of her grandmother who had lived with Davidson at the property. He said she was suffering severe depression, a personality disorder and transient psychotic disorder and was receiving treatment at a psychiatric unit.
Ms Burnham-Davies said that despite Davidson’s mental health issues, the prolonged nature of the abuse meant she was fully culpable for the animal’s suffering.
In passing sentence presiding magistrate noted that Davidson had refused help with the animals when offered, saying: “You caused unnecessary and prolonged cruelty to cats and dogs in your care.”
Sentencing: 12-week suspended sentence with a 25-day rehabilitation requirement. £250 costs and charges. Banned from keeping any animal for an indefinite period of time.
Update 10/09/2020: Davidson was given a 12-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to ill-treatment and neglect of a person who lacks capacity. The court heard how Davidson had left her 90-year-old grandmother, Betty Long, alone in a house full of animal faeces. Police entered the house in Ashton Drive, Bristol to find dementia-suffering Mrs Long alone, bruised, and on an overflowing commode.
Davidson was reported to be often out socialising in August and September 2017, leaving Mrs Long on her own for lengthy periods of time. Mrs Long died a short time after the raid.