Footage from the RSPCA showing the inside of the house
Warning: This report contains an image of a dead lizard
The RSPCA has released harrowing images of the scene that greeted inspectors when they discovered dead dogs and dead lizards among rubbish and excrement inside a "house of horrors".
The animals were discovered after the charity was contacted by a house clearance company who had been called to remove the contents from the property in Grimsby.
A decomposing body of a dog was found inside a locked bedroom covered in faeces and rubbish. Two dead lizards were found in vivariums with no power. Days later the body of another dog was found in a freezer.
Inspector Laura Barber, who has worked for the charity 15 years, said it was the worst case she had dealt with.
She said: "This was a sickening case to deal with and it is so difficult to imagine the pain and suffering and sheer terror those pets went through as they died a lingering death in such awful circumstances."
The squalor inside the house was uncovered in November when the house clearance company found an emaciated boxer dog and contacted the RSPCA.
It later emerged that the dog, called Lacey, had spent two years locked in a filthy bedroom covered in fleas and was never let out.
Another, called Hercules, spent months in a cage full of faeces for three months before he died.
A third dog was found dead in an upstairs bedroom, where damage to the walls suggested she had tried to claw her way out of what the RSPCA called a "horrendous prison cell".
Ms Barber said: "There was a green plastic bowl that was empty that had been chewed all around its edges. There was a metal pan with some dog biscuits in it which was covered over with cobwebs. There was also an empty small saucepan with dog biscuits on the floor mixed in with the dog excrement. This room was extremely upsetting to see."
The surviving dog, Lacey, was emaciated and crawling with fleas. She was so weak she could not stand unaided.
Ms Barber added: "It was a pitiful sight to see. She was unable to stand and was only able to lift her head up to respond to my voice and touch.
"She was in such a poor state, it was heartbreaking to see."
Lacey was looked after by vets and began to recover but later had to be put to sleep.
Ms Barber said: "It was heart-wrenching that in spite of the best efforts of the dedicated staff who cared and loved Lacey she was not able to make the recovery we all really prayed for.
"It was very upsetting but I take some comfort in the fact that she did get away from that awful prison cell."
The RSPCA traced the previous occupier, who admitted in interview mistreating the animals. He said Lacey was his dog but that he was left with the other pets after a friend moved out. He claimed he was unable to clean the mess up as he had a leg injury.
The man died before he could face prosecution.
The case comes as new figures issued by the RSPCA show that 90,000 dogs suffered mistreatment last year.
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