A pet shop owner from Hull has been disqualified from keeping caged exotics, rabbits, reptiles, guinea pigs and caged birds for life, after a prosecution case brought by the RSPCA.

 

Rebecca Dawn McHugh (D.O.B 08.11.81) of Boulevard, Hull appeared before Hull Magistrates’ Court on Friday (1 March) for sentencing.

 

At a hearing on 25 January, she was convicted, in absence, of four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006* and a warrant issued for her arrest.Snake

 

The RSPCA was called to Hull Pets and Garden on Beverley Road in June last year, 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.

 

Tegu“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.

 

In addition to the lifetime disqualification, McHugh was also sentenced to a two-year community order including 250 hours of unpaid work to be carried out within 12-months, and ordered to pay £300 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

 

In mitigation the court heard that she had mental health issues at the time.

*The full details of the offences are:

  1. Between 17 January 2018 and 14 June 2018 at Hull Pets and Garden, Beverley Road, Hull, you did cause unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, namely a Tegu (JD/18) by failing to adequately investigate and address its poor body condition which you knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause the said animal to suffer unnecessarily or be likely to do so, contrary to Section 4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

  1. Between 24 May 2018 and 14 June June 2018 at Hull Pets and Garden, Beverley Road, Hull, you did cause unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, namely a Leopard Gecko (JD/20) by failing to adequately investigate and address its poor body condition which you knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause the said animal to suffer unnecessarily or be likely to do so, contrary to Section 4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

  1. Between 17 January 2018 and 14 June 2018 at Hull Pets and Garden, Beverley Road, Hull, you did not take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of animals for which you were responsible, namely a Corn Snake (JD/16), two Bearded Dragons (JD/17 and JD/19), aTegu (JD/18) and a Leopard Gecko (JD/20), were met to the extent required by good practice in that you failed to ensure they were provided with a suitable environment, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

  1. Between 17 January 2018 and 14 June 2018 at Hull Pets and Garden, Beverley Road, Hull, you did not take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which you were responsible, namely a Bearded Dragon (JD/17),  were met to the extent required by good practice in that you failed to ensure it was protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease by not providing adequate antiparasitic treatment for its mite infestation, contrary to Section 9(1)(e) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.