Essex couple banned from keeping animals for 15 years

  • Watch the RSPCA video describing the animals condition


A couple from Essex have been banned from keeping animals for 15 years after nine cats were found living in cramped and dirty cages in a locked room in their house.

Alan and Sue Turner, from Jaywick, near Clacton, also failed to look after their dog properly. He had an untreated eye and skin infection.

The couple pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court to a number of animal welfare offences.

The animals were kept on dirty cages Credit: RSPCA

The court heard that the couple were keeping nine cats in small cages, covered in faeces and with little, or no food or water.

They also had a number of dogs including terrier called Dudley who was suffering from dental issues, skin disease and dry eye, and two more dogs Spangle and Amber who were not being kept in a suitable environment.

RSPCA inspector Adam Jones, who investigated, said:

When Inspector Jones arrived at the property on 17 January 2020, he immediately noticed the small grey and white terrier type dog Dudley.

Dudley was found with a number of ailments Credit: RSPCA

He said: “The first thing I noticed was the fur loss to a considerable area of his back end. His skin is best described as resembling an elephant. It was grey, thick, wrinkly and tough. I did not get to examine Dudley well as he hid under the sofa, however the skin was clearly an issue that had been ongoing for some time."

Dudley was treated by a vet, who said the dog was underweight, suffering from halitosis, severe gingivitis, overgrown claws, hyper-keratinised skin, he also had yellow discharge from his eyes, a poor coat quality and alopecia on his legs and dorsum, as well as fleas. The vet report added that his dental disease would have been causing him pain as well as chronic skin disease and an eye infection.

The court heard that the vet report continued: “I believe this dog to have been suffering and I believe his suffering had been ongoing for a period of weeks to months."

Sue Turner, 60, told inspectors that she only had two cats but several were found in the property, but the RSPCA contacted the police for assistance who obtained a warrant to search the house.

In his statement, Inspector Jones said:

There were 14 animals living in the property in total.

In mitigation, the couple said they had difficult personal circumstances including disabilities and financial hardship.

The pair were banned from keeping all animals for 15 years and cannot contest for at least five years. Alan Turner, 56, was also ordered to pay costs of £1,000 and a £95 victim surcharge, as well as a 12-month community order and 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirements. Sue Turner was ordered to pay costs of £1,500, a £95 victim surcharge and 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement, as well as a 12-month community order.