#TheList Alisa Brown, born c. 1981, and Stewart Herd, born c. 1961, both of 167 Disraeli Street, Blyth NE24 1HZ – failed to seek vet treatment for their pets’ flea infestations; three cats and two dogs described as bald, scabby and red raw.
Alisa Brown and Stewart Herd pleaded guilty to two counts each of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal after their two dogs and three cats became so infested with fleas they lost most of their fur from itching and had skin infections.
All five animals lived, along with four other pets, at the couple’s “cluttered” and “ammonia-smelling” home in Blyth and had suffered “prolonged neglect”, RSPCA inspectors claimed.
For at least three months, Brown and Herd hadn’t sought vet treatment for their flea infestations, prosecutors said. Both dogs, called Tyler and Gem, and the three cats were eventually seized by the RSPCA officers and police after concerns were raised about their welfare by the local authority.
John Ellwood, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the charity’s inspectors and the police visited the couple’s home on March 22, 2018 after concerns were raised regarding animal welfare by Northumberland County Council.
“The door was opened by Stewart Herd,” Mr Ellwood told South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court. “He told the officers to f**k off and slammed the door.
“Alisa Brown then came to the door and invited the officers in. The living room was cluttered and unkempt and smelled of ammonia.”
The court heard that, initially, the inspectors saw four cats, who were in “reasonable” condition and do not form part of the charges.
However, a further cat was seen in the kitchen, which had fur loss and red skin and was covered in scabs and dirt, Mr Ellwood said.
The prosecutor added: “A lurcher dog was then brought downstairs. His condition was very sad – he was almost completely bald.
“You could see a large amount of fleas all over his body and he was covered in scabs.”
As well as the lurcher, called Tyler, two other cats in a similar condition were discovered and the animals were seized and taken to the vets.
The dog and three cats were all found to have painful skin conditions, which were the result of “at least three-months” of untreated flea infestations.
They were given antibiotics and have since recovered, magistrates were told.
However, just four days later, RSPCA inspectors were called again to Brown and Herd’s home after concerns were raised for another animal, a dog called Gem.
Mr Ellwood said: “The defendant Brown was asked why she didn’t mention Gem at the previous visit and she said the dog was under a duvet and she had forgotten about it.
“The dog was almost hairless. This type of dog is relatively hairless normally but she was also covered in scabs, her ears were red and thickened, she smelled of yeast and her nails were long. She was seized by the police.”
Gem was also taken to the vets and found to be suffering from alopecia and a mange infection.
Mr Ellwood added: “The suffering here was unnecessary, prolonged, preventable and treatable. However, the defendant’s did nothing.”
The court was told that both Brown and Herd had been under considerable personal pressure and were usually “animal-loving people”.
Sentencing: 12-month community orders including 50 hours each of unpaid work. Banned from keeping pets for life.