Category Archives: lizards

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

Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire: Mia Connor

#TheList Mia Beth Connor, born 21/12/97, formerly of Rockhampton Avenue, East Kilbride, and now of Greenfaulds Crescent, Cumbernauld G67 2PJ – for shocking neglect of cats, dogs and lizards

Presa Canario cross Hulk had been locked in a room by his irresponsible owner Mia Connor now of Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire
Presa Canario cross Hulk had been locked in a room by his irresponsible owner Mia Connor

An investigation by the Scottish SPCA found that single mother-of-one Mia Connor had kept her animals in atrocious conditions and deprived them of food and water.

By the time the SSPCA attended Connor’s then property in Westwood, East Kilbride, a bearded dragon and gecko had already died a slow and miserable death. Their decomposed and dessicated bodies were found in an unlit and unheated vivarium. A surviving dragon named Cheech was found to be suffering severe dehydration and hypothermia.

Connor had failed to feed other pets properly, including cats Nemo and MJ, a collie named Luka and a Presa Canario cross called Hulk. Luka especially was very underweight

Foul conditions at the property in which animal abuser Mia Connor kept dogs, cats and lizards
Foul conditions at the property in which animal abuser Mia Connor kept dogs, cats and lizards

SSPCA inspector Jack Marshall described being met with “an overpowering smell of faeces and urine” as he entered Connor’s property which was strewn with rubbish and faeces.

Foul conditions at the property in which animal abuser Mia Connor kept dogs, cats and lizards

Inspector Marshall continued: “Hulk was contained in a bedroom upstairs and when I entered, he was desperate to get out of the room. He was also in a very lean body condition. This room had an overwhelming stench of excrement and urine.

“The animals were transported immediately to the vet and upon examination all were found to be emaciated and dehydrated. Both dogs were given a body score of 2/5. Hulk had a very marked and generalised skin disease which appeared to have had very little treatment. Luka’s coat was in very poor condition and smelled strongly of urine.

“Both cats had evidence of flea infestation.

“Veterinary examination found this to be marked neglect over an extended period of time, for all of the animals, comprising deprivation of the most basic requirements for life, namely food and water. The timescale involved can’t be given precisely but would be expected to be over several weeks.

“Failing to provide for these animals clearly resulted in an unacceptable degree of unnecessary suffering and stress to all the animals involved.”

Connor pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the animals but was let off with a paltry fine and a five-year ban on keeping animals.

Sentencing:
£600 fine. Banned from keeping animals for just five years.

Scottish SPCA News
Daily Record

Bournemouth, Dorset: Charmaine Collins

#TheList Charmaine Victoria Louise Collins, born 02/01/1990, of Rosebery Road, Southborne, Bournemouth BH5 2JH – let 61 animals die in her maggot-infested flat

Hoarder Charmaine Collins from Bournemouth and some images from the scene of horror that confronted the RSPCA.
Hoarder Charmaine Collins from Bournemouth and some images from the scene of horror that confronted the RSPCA.

Mother-of-one Collins crammed 196 animals including cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils and lizards as well as ducks and chickens in to her two-bedroom flat at 25 Hamilton Road in Boscombe before she was raided by police and the RSPCA. Some animals had gone without water and food for at least a week. Of the 196 animals, 61 died.

The court heard that Collins, who had started a degree in veterinary care, had established an animal breeding business called Fairytales with a friend. However, the friend backed out around two weeks before the flat was raided.

Officials found 48 animals in a small shed in the property’s communal garden. Many of the creatures inside – including 30 guinea pigs – were dead at the time, or died shortly afterwards.

Entry was then forced to the flat, which was in darkness and without electricity. As RSPCA inspector Patrick Bailey panned a torch around the dark rooms, the beam fell on a severely dehydrated rabbit, which was “convulsing”.

Officers were cofonfronted with loosely-stacked crates and cages filled with animals and smaller creatures suffocating in plastic containers.

More rabbits were confined to these containers, unable to move in any direction.

An animal carcass infested with maggots was also discovered. Decomposition indicated the creature had been dead for some time.

The RSPCA had first become involved with Collins in April 2016 over “similar issues”. At that time, Collins sought help from officials and some months later had just two dogs and a lizard.

However, she then began buying animals from fairs and shows. Ten days after she was interviewed by police, she travelled to Holland to buy 70 rodents. All have now been seized by the RSPCA.

Collins, who currently works as an assistant for Poole photography business Lite-Box Imagery,  admitted six charges relating to the care of the animals.

Sentence: 12-month community order and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days; total of £330 costs and charges. Banned from keeping any animal for the next 10 years (expires July 2028).

Daily Echo
Daily Mail

Weymouth, Dorset: Robert David Dewar

#TheList Robert David Dewar, born 23/04/1983, formerly of Dorchester Road, Weymouth, and more recently Grannie’s Heilan’ Hame, Embo, Dornoch IV25 3QD – caused unnecessary suffering to 11 reptiles, with six found dead at his home

Robert David Dewar left his reptiles to starve to death.

Dewar pleaded guilty to causing suffering to a protected animal at Weymouth Magistrates Court.

He was charged for causing unnecessary suffering to two bearded dragons, a leopard gecko and two crested geckos.

Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, Matthew Knight explained the charge related to a period between September 9 2017 and October 10 2017 whilst Dewar was living on Dorchester Road in Weymouth.

Mr Knight told the court that in October 2017 a bailiff was warranted to enter Dewar’s flat and discovered 11 reptiles – with a python, two corn snakes, a bearded dragon and two leopard geckos found dead.

The RSPCA were unable to pursue charges for the six dead animals as it was not possible to conclusively say how they died, although a vet suspected they had starved to death.

Of the two bearded dragons that were rescued, one had to be put to sleep because of the severity of its condition. The other bearded dragon which was described by Mr Knight in court as being dehydrated and “responsive, but dull” has since recovered and been re-homed.

Addressing the court, Mr Knight said: “There were six dead reptiles in the flat and five alive but in a poor condition.

“The reptiles require a vivarium with UV lighting. They were not given this basic care.”

He added that a number of the animals had no water provided.

Mr Knight said: “It is believed that these animals were left suffering for at least a week but it could have been over a number of months.

“Of the animals that survived, they required significant intervention to help them live.

“He [Dewar] knew how to care for these animals, but simply chose not to.”

Representing himself, Dewar said: “I am sorry. I was having a hard time and everything got on top of me. I was trying to look after myself and not my animals.”

Speaking to the court Dewar’s probation officer added: “He [Dewar] was able to understand how the animals would have felt and has shown remorse for his actions.”

Sentencing Dewar, chairman of the bench Debbie Boitoult said: “We have heard details and seen the suffering these animals underwent. You were aware that these animals needed a certain amount of care that you failed to give.”

Sentencing:
Community order of 100 hours of unpaid work to be completed within 12 months. Total of £385 costs and charges. Banned from owning or keeping any animals for 10 years.

Dorset Echo

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