Category Archives: degus

Meir, Stoke-on-Trent: Natalie Keenan and David Knight

#TheList Natalie Keenan, born c. 1989, and David Knight, born c. 1977, both of Sandon Old Road, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent ST3 – kept 23 pets – including a barn owl, a fox and a raccoon dog – inside a smelly and flea-ridden house of horrors

David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors

David Knight pleaded guilty to five charges related to animal cruelty, while Natalie Keenan admitted four offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

The pair’s mini-zoo was discovered by chance when a utility company official went round to the Meir home to execute a warrant as they hadn’t paid their gas bill.

He alerted the RSPCA, who were confronted by the stench of neglect, with piles of dog poo in the kitchen, rotting chickens in a snake tank and animals covered in fleas.

David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors

Other creatures – from pets to exotics to wild animals – were being kept in tiny filthy cages, with barely enough room to move and without ready access to water.

A raccoon dog kept in a foul cage by Natalie Keenan and David Knight from Meir, Stoke

One terrier-type dog, called Lexi, was in such a poor condition that she had to be put to sleep.

Hazel Stevens, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said Lexi was experiencing ‘significant suffering’. She was virtually blind, emaciated with protruding bones, had little fur and an infected tumour that was hidden underneath a ‘foul-smelling mess’.

The dog was found curled up on a pile of dirty nappies and had to be carried out of the house as she couldn’t walk.

The couple also had:

  • another dog, Mocha the French bulldog
  • a cat called Gizzy, who both had skin and flea problems;
  • a barn owl caged up in a bedroom
  • a fox living in a cage in another room;
  • a racoon dog
  • a rat
  • a bearded dragon
  • five snakes
  • eight degus;
  • and an African grey parrot called Charlie.
David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors
Lexi was in such poor condition she had to be put to sleep

RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “When I arrived at the property the couple wouldn’t let me inside so I waited outside for over two hours until police arrived.

“During that time the family carried bin bag after bin bag of rubbish out of the house.

“When I finally went inside it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Even though they’d been clearing out for two hours it was still absolutely filthy and the animals were being kept in horrifying conditions.

“There was cage after cage and animal after animal. The rooms were strewn with rubbish, all of the animals’ accommodation was filthy and their welfare needs were clearly not being met.

“It was disgusting and it was mass-scale neglect.”

The other animals remain in RSPCA care and can now be rehomed or moved to suitable keepers.

“Many of these animals simply shouldn’t be kept as pets let alone kept like this,” Inspector Melvin added.

“To see these poor animals living in such squalor was heartbreaking. I’m just glad they can all now have a second chance at find loving new homes where their needs will be properly catered to.”

Sentencing: 12-month community order including a 30-hour rehabilitation requirement. Total of £235 each in costs and charges.  Both were disqualified from keeping animals for three years.

Stoke Sentinel
Signal1

Shefford, Bedfordshire: Ethan Andrews

#TheList Ethan Andrews, born c. 2000, of 212 Shefford Road, Shefford, Clifton SG17 5QS – set fire to ex girlfriend’s home resulting in the deaths of a rabbit, degu and dog

Evil Ethan Andrews  and the rabbit he burned to death in an act of revenge against his ex
Evil Ethan Andrews and the rabbit he burned to death in an act of revenge against his ex. Two other innocent pets – a degu and later a dog – died from smoke inhalation.

“Controlling and abusive” Andrews poured petrol over the rabbit hutch that he knew housed the victim’s much loved pet ‘Spice’. When he lit the accelerant, the resulting explosion blew in patio doors to the property.

There was nothing left of the rabbit hutch containing Spice and a second pet – a degu – later died as a result of smoke inhalation.

On 11 June 2019 the Sun reported that the family dog had also died some months later from smoke inhalation.

Andrews’ attack followed the break-up of his brief relationship with the victim.

She had complained that Andrews had been controlling and abusive. When she broke up with him he tried to pressurise her back into a relationship, making threats against her and to harm her pets.

In July 2018 he acted upon those threats.

Andrews admitted arson ‘reckless as to whether life was endangered’ and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

The case was investigated by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit.

Detective Constable Colin Workman said: “It is clear from the fire investigation that numerous lives were put at risk by Andrews’ actions, including the life of an unborn baby.
[…]
“Andrews planned this attack to get back at the victim. It was an act of pure callousness to target a rabbit in order to achieve this goal. His deliberate actions caused immense distress and harm to the victim and her family. I hope this sentence today allows them to start putting these terrible events behind them.”

Sentencing: 32 months’ imprisonment – 13 in prison and 19 out on licence – and a further three months to run concurrently for killing the rabbit. He was also given an indefinite restraining order.

BBC News
The Sun

Slough, Berkshire: Emma Ditch

#TheList Emma Louise Ditch, born 13/07/1979, of 56 Aylesbury Crescent, Slough SL1 3ES – neglected a dog, degus and a snake

silhouette of a woman - abuser photo wanted

Ditch was found guilty of not meeting the needs of and not keeping safe from injury a German Shepherd named Champ, two degus and a snake.

Following a complaint about incessant barking, council officers rescued the animals, which were all at risk of injury.

All of the animals were re-homed.ba

Sentence: £525 in costs. Banned from keeping rodents and reptiles for just two years (expired April 2019).

Newslink
Slough Express