#TheList Carl Stephen Hollis, born c. 1962, and Melanie Hollis, born c. 1967, both of 4x Warren Drive, Broughton, Chester CH4 0PT – for animal cruelty offences towards two dogs and five cats
The court heard that Carl Hollis, owner of a plastering and joinery business called Hollis Construction, was responsible for two elderly labrador dogs, both of whom were suffering from a skin condition. Five flea-riddled and underweight cats found at the property were the responsibility of Melanie Hollis. None of the pets had received veterinary treatment.
Prosecuting, Chris Murphy said the couple had received RSPCA advice and a voucher for veterinary care in September 2017 and December 2017 following concern for the two dogs.
When an RSPCA inspector visited the Hollises on June 30, 2018, she was informed the couple had gone on a two-week holiday, due to return on July 10, and had left their sons to periodically go round and check on the animals.
On initial sight there were 10 cats seen at the property and there was dried cat and dog food in the bowls.
It was noted both dogs had extensive hair loss and there was a strong smell of ammonia in the front room, with puddles on the floor and dirty water in the bowls.
In total there were seven cats, six kittens and two labradors at the property. However, it was accepted most of the cats were either strays or not owned by the couple.
All animals were taken to the vets to be checked over. None of the them were microchipped.
One of the cats – who was about 20 years old – had to be put to sleep, but the court heard that all of the other animals are doing well and that some had been rehomed.
When interviewed, Carl Hollis admitted to ownership of the dogs – who were in their mid to late teens – and said he did not take the dogs to the vet for fear they would be put to sleep.
Melanie Hollis accepted the cats had not received the veterinary care they should have. She admitted she had taken on “far more than she could chew” by letting in stray cats .
The couple’s two sons were spoken to and claimed that they had visited the property daily to check on the animals.
Defending Melanie Hollis, Richard Thomas said she had been looking after animals for more than 30 years and there had been no prior advice for her from the RSPCA regarding the welfare of the cats.
It had been accepted the 20-year-old cat was in poor health and was dying, and would likely be put to sleep if he had been taken to the vets, but “misplaced loyalty” meant his owner could not face doing it.
With all the animals at the home, the situation had “become slightly chaotic,” Mr Thomas added.
Although Carl Hollis was not represented, Mr Thomas said on his behalf: “He had owned these animals for 15-16 years; he tried to treat them at home but admittedly should have taken them to the vets. There was nothing deliberate about the mistreatment.”
Carl Hollis added: “I apologise for the mistreatment, I was ignorant.”
12-month community order: Carl Hollis must complete 200 hours unpaid work while Melanie Hollis must do 150 hours unpaid work. Total of £530 each in costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.