Legal News

Another successful prosecution

Another succesful prosecution of animal neglect

Three members of the same Preston family have been found guilty of neglecting multiple animals.

The family from Penwortham had been visited multiple times by the RSPCA over the last decade because they kept more animals than they could manage and had received much guidance.

Multiple animals were in the family’s  possession including 11 rabbits, four birds, six ferrets, four cats, five guinea pigs, one dog, a cockatoo and a chinchilla.  


The “suffering” underweight chinchilla and cats were found dirty and thin, being kept in cages without food or bedding.

A cockatoo appeared to have a broken leg.

A warning notice was issued to one of the family, advising her to improve conditions.

But when officers went back to inspect they found a large number of animals in dirty cages or hutches, which were hungry, some with no water or bedding.

Of particular concern was a small pen containing three cats, which were thin with fleas, along with faces on the floor and only one bed.


A vet at Greater Manchester Animal Hospital examined them and found them to be underweight with multiple infestations, bad skin and poor ears.

It is estimated that the animals were suffering for at least three months.

On return to the address a week later, some conditions had improved and the dog rehomed. 

The family admitted that they were at fault for the way the chinchilla was accommodated and accepted they didn’t give it 100% attention.

They also accepted they had too many animals to look after properly and when the RSPCA had given them guidance about looking after the animals, they had let standards slip.

The vet produced a clinical history for the cats which showed they had been registered but never seen by the practice and no record of a chinchilla.

High culpability

One family member was ordered to pay £1000 costs, sentenced to a 12 month community order with 100 hours unpaid work in addition to an indefinite disqualification order for all animals except dogs. 

The second family member received a 12-month community order and a curfew from 8pm to 7am for two months. There was also an indefinite disqualification for all animals except dogs. 

A younger relative was sentenced with a conditional discharge for two years and a disqualification period of five years for all animals.

Our director Paul Ridehalgh, who prosecutes on behalf of the RSPCA, said: “The RSPCA’s view was that the offences were serious, namely the neglect of multiple animals and that there were factors indicating high culpability as the neglect was prolonged.

“There was a clear and obvious risk of reoffending as the RSPCA has had multiple dealings with this family over the years.

“This has now necessitated the removal of animals and the family themselves rehoming animals to reduce numbers.”

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