Lifetime ban for couple who left 30 starving and trapped animals in faeces-laden scrapyard
A couple who starved and trapped 30 horses, dogs, cats and donkeys in a scrapyard sodden with faeces have been banned from owning animals for life.
John Evans, 45, and Lisa Evans, 35, left 18 dogs, three cats, six horses and a donkey in squalid conditions in what's been described by an RSPCA inspector as the one of the worst cases of animal neglect he'd ever faced.
RSPCA inspectors and officers from West Midlands Police found horses with ribs, hips and spines visible, tethered dogs with no food, water or bedding, other dogs trapped in small cages, along with a dead kitten, a decomposing puppy and the skull of another animal.
The pair from Pedmore Road, Brierley Hill, have now been banned from owning animals for life while John Evans was also jailed for 16 weeks.
Police descended on the property on July 29 last year before calling in the RSPCA to rescue the animals when they found them shut in dilapidated kennels, sheds, shipping containers, horse boxes and vans within a scrap yard behind the couple’s address.
RSPCA Inspector Jack Alderson, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, described what he saw when he entered. He said: “This enclosure was too small for this number of animals. There was no hay or any other food available and although there was a large black trough in front of me, it contained nothing.
“The floor was completely sodden with a large build up of faeces and the roof wasn’t large enough to cover the animals inside. This was compounded by the numerous hazards dotted around the enclosure including gates and ladders on the floor.”
Six horses were found at first, including three foals curled up together in a heap on the floor. They then found a staved horse with faeces and with a strong smell of ammonia. The only access to the horse’s enclosure had been blocked with car doors, pallets, a car engine, a large white box, and other large objects, indicating it had not been opened in a long time.
Animal rescuers then discovered two young kittens in a shed alongside a dead kitten with a hole in his abdomen which exposed flesh and bone, and the skull of another animal.
Inspector Alderson added: “Upon opening the door to the shed, both live kittens rushed to get out. Both in very poor body condition and were calling frantically to show they were very hungry.”
Another horse was found in a horsebox in the scrapyard with ribs and hips visible. Like others, it had no food or water while the horse was 'caked in faeces all around his legs and feet' due to the amount that had built up on the floor.
Two lurchers were found in poor condition, tethered to their kennels with no food, water or bedding, while six more dogs were discovered in an outdoor kennel without suitable access to water. The floor consisted of dried faeces and old bedding. The body of a decomposing dead puppy was found in the back of a white transit van.
Another blue horsebox-style container had another horse inside - this time with its ribs and spine visible. Three more dogs were found in a garden while inside the house rescuers found crates stacked on top of each other, with the top one containing two young puppies.
In the crate below was a collie-type dog and a long-haired terrier with no bedding, food or water. The crate contained childrens’ toys, urine and faeces and didn’t offer enough space for both to sit down or or rest comfortably.
Lastly, inspectors found a shipping container split into two compartments, one with a male German shepherd dog and other other containing a female mastiff. Both were described as lethargic with their bones visible. The female dog also had a swollen eye which was discharging a large amount of green fluid.
As well as many animals not having access to food or water, some were also suffering from a variety of untreated ailments and in desperate need of veterinary help.
Describing how he felt as he helped her to safety, Inspector Alderson said: “The conditions in this enclosure were also horrendous. The floor consisted of animal faeces and there was no comfortable rest area. The mastiff was in a concerning state, clearly suffering from a painful eye issue, a lack of adequate nutrition, and living in filth.
"This was one of the worst animal welfare situations I have ever been faced with.”
John Evans was locked up for 16 weeks when sentenced at Coventry Magistrates' Court on September 12 after facing six counts of causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals between April and July last year.
Lisa Evans was given a 12-week prison term suspended for 12 months. She must also undertake 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR) days with a critical thinking programme after facing three charges.
Both must pay £500 costs and a £128 victim surcharge, while neither can appeal to have their lifetime bans lifted for 10 years.
The surviving dogs have since been rehomed and the horses have gone to specialist equine charities for care and rehoming, while the Donkey Sanctuary has taken in the donkey. Sadly, the kittens did not survive.
"It's always really sad for the rescue and vet teams who battle to save lives, they always do what they can to help every animal who comes into their care," an RSPCA spokeswoman added.