Animal ban after Newton Aycliffe man 'left dogs unattended living in faeces-strewn flat'

The dire living conditions Poppy and Marley were forced to live in. Credit: RSPCA

Warning - this story includes details of animal cruelty that some readers may find distressing

A man who let two dogs live "unattended in a rubbish and faeces-strewn flat" has been banned from keeping animals.

Chad Kemp, 28, ignored warnings and advice from the RSPCA about the conditions at the property in Newton Aycliffe where wolfhounds Poppy and Marley were living.

At a sentencing hearing at Peterlee Magistrates Court on 5 March, Kemp was banned from keeping animals for three years after admitting he had failed to meet his pets’ needs by providing them with a suitable environment.

Kemp pleaded guilty to the offence at a previous hearing in January.

The court heard that RSPCA Inspectors Gemma Lynch and John Lawson had gone to the ground floor flat in Galpin Court on 3 May 2023, following reports that Poppy and Marley had been left unattended.

Tapes had previously been placed over the door lock on a previous visit to check if anyone was entering the property but these were still intact.

An image taken through the window of the property shows the squalid conditions the dogs were living in. Credit: RSPCA

In a written statement to the court, Inspector Lynch said: “We were informed that Mr Kemp had not been seen for some time. We returned with police and Mr Kemp was located.

"Strong advice was given to him in regards to not leaving the dogs unattended and to ensure they were not returned to the address until it was a suitable living area.

“Mr Kemp agreed and assured us he would take the dogs to his friends until the flat was cleaned and he removed the dogs while we were present.”

In his evidence, Inspector Lawson described conditions inside the flat as "hazardous" and noted there was medication within reachable height of the dogs on the coffee table.

Three days later, Inspector Lynch visited the flat again and spoke to someone there who knew Kemp.

The dogs were photographed through the window of the property sitting amongst the rubbish. Credit: RSPCA

He told her the defendant had not returned to the address for days and that he was sitting outside because the smell of urine inside the property was giving him breathing difficulties.

On entering the flat the inspector found it covered in rubbish and faeces and smelling strongly of ammonia.

Poppy and Marley were back living inside and were subsequently seized by police.

Both dogs, who were described as being in a "lean" condition, were taken to a vet to be checked over before being transferred to a private boarding facility to be looked after on behalf of the RSPCA.

A further visit to the flat was made by Inspector Lynch on 25 May 2023.

Kemp was at home and was advised that an investigation was underway. He said he would consider signing the dogs over into RSPCA care, although this did not happen.

The passageway and bathroom appeared to have been cleaned up, the court heard, but there were "dog faeces stuck to the floor in various areas and the living room was full of rubbish and unsuitable for animals to be living in".

The condition of the flat and amount of urine and faeces was described as "hazardous". Credit: RSPCA

Repeated attempts were made to arrange an interview with Kemp in the months that followed, but phone calls went unanswered and there was no reply at the property or at another address where he was said to be currently living, the RSPCA said.

The court heard Kemp had been suffering from poor mental health. As well as the three-year ban on keeping animals - which does not include cockatiels - a deprivation order on the dogs was also imposed.

Poppy and Marley are currently being cared for at the RSPCA’s York, Harrogate & District Branch rehoming centre and can now be rehomed by the charity.

What to do if you suspect the mistreatment of animals

Animal cruelty is where an animal is suffering as a result of a deliberate human act, for example being beaten or repeatedly subjected to a fearful situation.

Neglect is where an animal is suffering because their needs are not being met, for example not being fed, not being provided with vet treatment or being kept in a small cage all day. Neglect can be unintentional.

The RSPCA requires the following information:

  • A description of the animal's environment and bodily condition. This will help us to assess the situation and the animal's welfare.

  • If known, the name(s) and address(es) of the person(s) involved.

  • The names and addresses of any witnesses.

  • The registration number and description of any vehicle involved.

More information can be found here.

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