Couple Banned From Keeping Animals For Life Following RSPCA Investigation

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A man and woman from County Durham have been banned from keeping animals for life thanks to a successful prosecution pursued by the RSPCA. 

John Raper and Clare Louise Raper, both of Darlington, were convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to their dog ‘Chico’ and failing to meet the needs of Chico, a cat called ‘Puss’, three domestic white rats and two Budgerigars. 

Mr Raper pleaded guilty to a third offence of failing to protect Chico and Puss from pain, suffering, injury or disease, which are all offences contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Both were sentenced at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 20 October.

When RSPCA inspector Clare Wilson entered the property with the police, she found the animals were living in an unhygienic and hazardous environment. 

Inside, the rooms were hoarded household items which were infested with fleas, flies and other insects.

Clare saw Chico, a Labrador cross, had an untreated skin condition with hair loss to his back, and he was scratching his skin. 

A rancid cage found inside the property

The water that had been left for Chico was dirty and undrinkable.

Their cage was also soiled with droppings.

Clare found another white rat living in a filing drawer. 

The drawer was closed, so the rat was living in the dark amongst rubbish with no food or water.

In addition to the lifetime disqualification, which they cannot contest for 20 years, they both received a six-month conditional discharge and were ordered to pay £200 costs and a £22 victim surcharge. 

A deprivation order was given for Chico, Puss, Penny and Shadow meaning that the RSPCA will be able to rehome them after a 21-day appeal period has passed. 

The rats were signed over into the RSPCA’s care and have been rehomed.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said:

‘No animals deserve to live lives like this, and we want to make sure we can at least give them a second chance to live a happy life. 

‘If you’re looking to rehome one of our animals, take a look at our Find a Pet for your perfect match’.

Image credit: RSPCA

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