Cambridge: Sarah Pickup

#TheList Sarah Pickup, born c. 1979, of Dennis Road, Cambridge CB5 – kept dogs, cats and lizards in appalling conditions at her home; 21 lizards and other exotic creatures found dead.

Reptiles kept in appalling conditions at Sarah Pickup's home in Cambridge.

Pickup pleaded guilty to six offences under the Animal Welfare Act for mistreating dogs, cats and lizards.

Prosecutor Janita Patel told the court that the case came to light after the RSPCA was contacted by someone who had been asked to look after the animals while Pickup was on holiday.

The person was shocked by the conditions in the house and discovered numerous dead reptiles, some of which had been put in plastic bags – while the live reptiles were living in poor conditions.

They also found a Cavalier King Charles spaniel with a buster collar on and a swollen infected ear.

Pickup’s offences in full:

  • Causing unnecessary suffering to a Cavalier King Charles spaniel called Freddie by failing to seek veterinary care and attention for his ear condition
  • Failing to meet his needs for adequate flea control
  • Failing to meet the needs of a cat called Flower, 21 leopard geckos, one chameleon, one plated lizard, one blue-tongued skink, two axolotls, one gecko, and one corn snake, by failing to provide them with a suitable environment
  • Failing to meet the needs of a chameleon
  • Causing it unnecessary suffering by failing to investigate and address the cause of its poor bodily condition and weight loss
  • Failing to meet the needs of 15 leopard geckos and one axolotl by failing to provide an appropriate environment

In total, 26 live reptiles, two amphibians, 21 dead reptiles and 20 dead African land snails were found at the property.

RSPCA inspector Alex Coghlan, who investigated the incident, said: “The conditions at the home were appalling. There was a terrible smell coming from the home and there were dead reptiles just dumped in plastic bags in the garden.

“Many of the live reptiles were being housed in inappropriate conditions, with no water, light or heat, yet the vivariums which did have heaters were just not plugged in or the bulbs had gone out.

“It was heartbreaking to see so many animals just left in such awful conditions.

“Exotic animals need specialist care and sadly these animals had not been looked after appropriately.”

All animals were signed over into the care of the RSPCA and taken to a specialist facility.

Sadly one leopard gecko had to be put to sleep to prevent further suffering.

Sentencing: 12-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months; total of £415 costs and charges; 40 hours of rehabilitation with the probation service. Banned for life from keeping animals.

CambridgeshireLive