#TheList Thomas Anthony Bennett, born 08/01/1987 of 54 Rice Lane, Wallasey, Wirral CH44 0DQ – abandoned a dog, a snake and a bearded dragon without food or water for several days
Father-of-two Thomas Bennett pleaded guilty to three animal welfare charges after neglecting three pets, including a snake that was found dead at his property.
The dog, a nine-year-old Rottweiler called Bruno, was found barricaded in a squalid kitchen which was full of faeces.
Neighbours allegedly heard a dog ‘barking for days’ on the street – with one resident fearing the house was empty for ‘at least a week’.
RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes, who investigated, said none of the animals had food or water.
He said the python was found in a vivarium and had been dead for some time. The bearded dragon was in such a bad state of health that police officers initially thought he was also dead.
Anthony said: “Bruno was locked in a filthy kitchen which had been barricaded shut with furniture. He had no food or water and was surrounded by faeces.
“There were some empty dog food cans in the kitchen and because he was so hungry he had started chewing them.
“He was clearly underweight but since he has been the care of the RSPCA he has done really well and it is hoped he will be rehomed soon.”
Anthony said: “From the state of decomposition it was clear the snake had been dead sometime.
“The bearded dragon looked close to death but was given specialist medical care – including having a feeding tube inserted into his stomach – and made a full recovery.
“Sadly, recently he developed a tumour in his mouth and a vet decided the kindest thing to do would be to put him to sleep but I am grateful he enjoyed a few months of life being properly cared for.”
“Bennett didn’t even have the right equipment for keeping a bearded dragon – there was no UV light for him and without this they develop bone problems and will be unable to live a healthy life.
“Reptiles and other exotic pets are completely reliant on their owners to meet their welfare needs including requiring the correct levels of heat, light and humidity, plus an appropriate diet.
“People may buy them with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep and the animals are sometimes neglected when the novelty wears off and the commitment hits home.
“This is why the RSPCA would encourage anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal’s needs and whether they’re the right pet for them.”
Bennett admitted he had not fed the bearded dragon and snake for at least six weeks and said this was because he was struggling financially.
Sentencing: 12-month jail term suspended for 12 months; 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement; total of £515 costs and charges. Five year ban on keeping animals.