Category Archives: exotic birds

Kingston Upon Hull: Rebecca McHugh

#TheList Rebecca Dawn McHugh, born 08/11/1981 of Boulevard, Hull HU3 – left animals to starve to death in her abandoned pet shop

Former pet shop owner Rebecca McHugh abandoned bearded dragons, a corn snake, a leopard gecko and a Tegu Lizard when she closed the business. Only three of the animals left behind survived the ordeal.
Former pet shop owner Rebecca McHugh abandoned bearded dragons, a corn snake, a leopard gecko and a Tegu Lizard when she closed the business. Only three of the animals left behind survived the ordeal.

Rebecca ‘Becky’ McHugh has been disqualified from keeping caged exotics, rabbits, reptiles, guinea pigs and caged birds for life, after a prosecution case brought by the RSPCA.

In January 2018, McHugh was convicted in her absence of four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

The RSPCA was called to Hull Pets and Garden on Beverley Road in June 2018, almost five months after the shop closed.

RSPCA inspector Jilly Dickinson said: “The shop closed down in January, and I attended in June after energy suppliers entered to switch off the supply and found the exotics – it appears they had simply been left behind after the shutters had gone down for the final time.

“Five animals were alive, but only three of these – a corn snake and two bearded dragons – survived.

“The bearded dragons were underweight, and one of them had a horrendous burden of mites, leaving them unable to open their eyes, lethargic, anaemic and dehydrated.

“There was an underweight leopard gecko with long standing metabolic bone disease and subsequent current and historic fractures, and eye problems which were untreatable – meaning that they unfortunately had to be put to sleep.

“A Tegu lizard was described by the vet as being in the worst condition he had ever seen – completely emaciated, dehydrated and lethargic. The Tegu unfortunately didn’t pull through and died not long after coming into our care.”

The surviving animals were signed over to the RSPCA and have now been rehomed.

Sentencing: two-year community order including 250 hours of unpaid work; total of £385 costs and charges. Disqualified for life from keeping caged exotics, rabbits, reptiles, guinea pigs and caged birds.

RSPCA News
Hull Daily Mail

Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear: Susan and James Ross

#TheList Susan Ross, born 1955, and son James F Ross, born c. 1989, both of Kingsley Avenue, Whitley Bay NE25 8RX – failed to seek medical care for their flea-ridden cat and poorly cockatiel

Animal abusers Susan Ross and son James Ross, both of Whitley Bay, and their neglected pets, cockatiel Eddie and cat Roxy
Susan Ross and son James Ross, both of Whitley Bay, and their neglected pets, cockatiel Eddie and cat Roxy

The RSPCA prosecuted mother and son Susan and James Ross after their cockatiel, Eddie, and tabby cat Roxy were found to be in dire need of vet treatment

Roxy, who was around six years old, was covered in fleas and had developed a skin condition which caused clumps of her fur to fall out.

Eddie was discovered lying at the bottom of his cage covered in his own faeces.

Denise Jackman, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told the court that the cat was found to have an infestation of large adult fleas which had led to an irritating skin disease and fur loss.

James Ross had bought flea spray but neither defendant had taken the tabby to the vet when her condition did not improve.

Grey and yellow cockatiel Eddie had been struggling to perch on the bars of his cage and was left to lie at the bottom.

Unable to reach his food and water, the poorly bird had been struggling to breathe and was losing feathers.

Although the bird’s cage was kept in a reasonably clean condition, his feathers and feet were encrusted with his droppings as he was left stuck on the floor.

Both animals were taken to a vet by the RSPCA and Eddie was put down the same day, as it was considered to be in the bird’s best interests, the court heard.

Roxy was given medication to treat the fleas but struggled to put on weight. She was diagnosed with an unrelated tumour and sadly put to sleep in November 2016.

Despite being entitled to use vet charity PDSA, the court heard unemployed Susan Ross had not taken her pets for treatment because she had been busy helping her daughter with her young child.

She also claimed that the cockatiel had been under the care of her late husband and she was not aware that the bird, whose age was unknown, had been ill.

Mother and son both pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide veterinary care for the cat and bird and were banned from owning pets for a decade.

Speaking outside the court, RSPCA inspector Helen Bestwick said: “It should have been obvious to the owners to get treatment for their pets and consider costs before they have a pet.”

Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £330 in costs and fines each. Banned from owning animals for 10 years (expires January 2027).

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