A man has been banned from owning animals for life after three sick kittens and four dead snakes were among 37 animals being kept at his home in Liverpool.
The RSPCA investigated after being alerted by a member of the public when the animals' owner was taken to hospital.
Inspectors found 20 cats and three kittens along with four dogs and three ferrets living in filthy, unhygienic conditions. There were also two fish in an aquarium and four of five snakes had perished and were in a decomposed state.
A vet who examined the animals, said it would have taken two full-time animal workers with help from volunteers to look after such a large number of animals.
Alan Packenham of Thornton, Liverpool was sentenced at Liverpool Magistrates' Court on 14 April after pleading guilty to four offences of causing unnecessary suffering to animals and one of failing to take steps to ensure the needs of the animals were met.
When RSPCA inspectors entered the property in August 2021 they were hit by an "overpowering stench of faeces and urine".
They discovered two female cats, one severely underweight, in the bathroom, along with three kittens inside an open draw who were infested with fleas and in need of immediate medical attention. All five cats were taken to a local veterinary practice by Inspector Joynes, but two of the kittens were in such poor health that sadly one died within minutes of arriving at the vets and another passed away later.
Two of three german shepherd dogs had been left muzzled.
In her witness statement, Inspector Lisa Lupson said: "There seemed to be faeces and rubbish on every available surface."
Inspector Nadine Pengilly said: "The kittens were crawling with fleas and appeared weak and lethargic. I had to check that they were not dead."
Inspector Lupson returned to the property on two occasions to catch 14 of the cats and collect the four dogs. Sadly another cat was found to have died.
The cats and dogs were placed in the care of an RSPCA animal centre and approved kennels, while the ferrets and a corn snake were taken to specialist rescue centres.
Veterinary surgeon Vanessa Whitfield, based at the RSPCA's Greater Manchester Animal Hospital, concluded the three kittens, five of the cats and two of the German Shepherd dogs had all been allowed to suffer by their owner.
She said he had also failed to provide for the needs of all the animals by not providing a hygienic environment, a suitable amount of space, food and water, places for the animals to rest and play and to urinate and defecate, as well as failing to provide suitable veterinary care.
In her report, the vet said: "Animal welfare organisations would have a minimum of two full-time members of staff, assisted by volunteers, to care for such a number of animals.
She added: "It is likely they [the failings] had been present for a minimum of three months, but more likely this poor level of care will have persisted for many months or even years."
Packenham was sentenced to 16-weeks in prison suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, pay £500 court costs and a victim surcharge of £95.