Harrowing video footage shows the scene faced by an RSPCA inspector in Grimsby during the ‘worst case of her career’ where four dead pets had slowly perished locked inside a faeces-filled and flea-ridden home.
House clearance workers had come across a very emaciated and poorly boxer-type dog on November 5 last year and reported the matter to the RSPCA. Sadly, the dog later died.
Inspector Laura Barber has worked as an RSPCA inspector for 15 years and she was horrified by what she saw when she was sent to gather evidence at an address in Grimsby.
*Warning – viewer discretion advised as the video and images may cause distress
A decomposing body of a dog was found inside a locked bedroom covered in faeces and rubbish as well as two dead lizards found in vivariums with no power to them.
Days later the body of another dog was found in a freezer.
A dog called Lacey was also found barely alive and was rushed to Blue Cross Animal Hospital in Grimsby for emergency veterinary treatment.
During interviews with the man who lived in the property, it transpired that 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 perished.
Inspector Barber then entered an upstairs room piled high with hundreds of dried and crusty excrement and full of rubbish, where she found the decomposing body of a dog.
The wall above where the dead dog laid had shed plaster and was down to the wood in parts. The RSPCA said this suggests the pet, who was called Lily, had spent some time trying to claw her way out of what was described as a ‘horrendous prison cell’.
Downstairs in the living room Inspector Barber also found the bodies of two dead lizards housed in cobweb-covered vivariums. They both had no power to them and there was no food and water present, and the lizards appeared to have been deceased for some time.
In the kitchen she found a dog crate which was covered in excrement indicating a dog had been locked in the cage at some point for a considerable amount of time.
Inspector Barber took the dead animals away as part of the RSPCA investigation and then she went to visit the emaciated white boxer-type dog who had been rushed to the vets.
Lacey was aged about eight years-old and was in very poor health. She was emaciated and crawling with fleas, and had urine stains on her legs from where she had been laid in her own wee. She was so weak she could not stand unaided.
Inspector Barber 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.”
Lacey was adopted by Ryan Rouse, a staff member at the Blue Cross Animal Centre who had helped her.
Sadly after a few months, due to the previous neglect, her health was deteriorating and as she was in a suffering state, so a vet decided the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep.
Ryan said: “She soon became a member of the family and we gave her all the love we could give. Sadly, the years of neglect had taken its toll on her and when it was time to say goodbye the team at Grimsby all gave her a cuddle and many tears were shed.”
Through her investigation Inspector Barber was also able to track down the previous occupant of the property. During an interview he admitted to leaving Lacey and Lily locked in separate bedrooms – full of faeces, urine and fleas.
He also told how a young dog called Hercules was housed for about three months in a cage in his own filth – and he decided not to feed the reptiles and left them dying a lingering death. The body of Hercules was subsequently found in a freezer at the property.
The man, who has since died before his prosecution went to court, claimed Lacey was his dog but that he was left with the other pets after a friend moved out and he kept the dogs in separate rooms as they didn’t get on. He also claimed he couldn’t clean any of the mess up as he had a leg injury.
The RSPCA said during interview he coldly stated that Lacey had remained in her filth ridden room – in her own faeces and urine – for two years and had never been out of it in that entire time. The man said Lily died from being locked in the other filthy bedroom.
He said: “There were piles of poo and fleas everywhere. I was covered in fleas when I went in, but I couldn’t afford treatment for her. Her face was white but looked black with all the fleas covering it and her eyes were yellow. That’s basically how she died.”
He also told how the dog found in the freezer – was called Hercules – and had been locked in the faeces-filled cage for three months. Asked how he died the defendant answered: “The cage – it is as simple as that. It was full of poo and no way could I get it out.”