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22 January 2016, 18:49
A vet and a veterinary assistant have been convicted after twenty-eight animals were found living in filth in a dark basement at a vets practice in Leeds.
49 year old Gary Samuel from Middlesex and 27 year old Rochelle McEwan from Leeds were both found guilty of the charges against them at Leeds Magistrates Court, including causing 'unncessary suffering' and failing to meet the needs of the animals.
Twenty-two dogs and eight cats were rescued from Armley Vets on Town Street in February 2015.
Five animals subsequently had to be put to sleep. The rest have been rehomed.
RSPCA inspector Nikki Cheetham said: "You think you've ™ve seen it all in this job and then you get a call like this.
"Police attended on another matter and found the animals in cages in a back room, the vets living quarters and a basement, accessed by a trap door that had been covered by carpet.
"That's where most of the dogs were found - living in cages in a pitch black dungeon. It was filthy, there was faeces everywhere, and they had no access to food or water.
"Most of the cats were shut in one room, which was also covered with excrement."
All the dogs were Husky-types, including several puppies, with the exception of two Chinese Crested dogs. All were signed over to the RSPCA except two Huskies and the two Chinese Crested which are still in RSPCA care pending sentencing.
Twenty one animals - 15 dogs and 6 cats - have been happily rehomed from RSPCA rehoming centres and branches in County Durham, York, Liverpool, Chester, Leeds and Harrogate.
RSPCA inspector Cheetham said: "The condition of these animals and the way in which they were being kept was appalling.
"This situation was made even more shocking when you consider that those people responsible are in a position of trust. People who work in the veterinary profession are the first port of call if an animal needs help.
"It is unthinkable to consider what was going on in this surgery as clients were coming and going, paying their vet fees.â€
Sentencing is scheduled to take place at Leeds Magistrates Court at 2pm on Friday 12 February.