A man allowed his deceased mother’s dishevelled and excrement-riddled home to become overrun with 30 inter-bred feral cats and a ferret.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard today, Thursday, August 3, how Martin Jones, 58, of Hillsway, Shirebrook, had left two cats at the property and their offspring are believed to have continued breeding as he occasionally fed them.
Prosecuting solicitor Andy Cash, who represented the RSPCA, said: “The property was first visited on August 31, last year, because of a report of a sick, stray cat and there were repeated visits to the home at Hillsway but the property had darkened windows.
“Seals were placed at the property but they were broken and replaced and broken again so it was apparent someone was there and RSPCA notices were left but there was no response but the defendant must have known they were visiting.
“Further enquiries brought the existence of the defendant to light and since that time he was completely compliant.”
The court was shown a video taken by the RSPCA as their inspectors searched the property and it transpired there were 30 cats and kittens and a ferret and many of the animals had to be rounded up with traps.
Horrific footage showed the floors and work surfaces covered with excrement with piles of rubbish strewn everywhere reaching up the walls and as high at the tops of the kitchen work tops.
Mr Cash added: “The defendant had put two cats into the property after his mother died and what we see now is the progeny of these two cats.”
The vet revealed it was impossible not to stand in excrement and the cats were suffering with laboured breathing and some had feline AIDS and they must have been suffering for at least six months.
Mr Cash said some of the cats have been re-homed but many have had to be put down because of the poor state of their health and due to their feral nature.
Jones had thrown food into the property, according to Mr Cash, but there were no obvious signs that the animals had been given water.
Mr Cash said: “A lot of the cats’ paws and claws were caked in faecal matter. They were not able to groom and they bred and there were kittens in the property and a number would not have survived but it has not been possible to recover their bodies. They were all related.”
The court heard how Jones’s mother died in 2005 and he acquired two cats shortly afterwards and the property was effectively closed and conditions deteriorated over a number of years.
Jones, who is currently living with a relative at Yew Tree Drive, Shirebrook, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to 30 cats and a ferret after keeping them in a detrimental environment between September, 2016, and March, 2017.
The case was adjourned for a probation report to be prepared before sentencing at a later stage in the day.
However, District Judge Andrew Davison opted to further adjourn the case until August 9 after Jones, who was representing himself, opted to consult a solicitor before sentencing.
District Judge Davison warned Jones that he was not ruling out custody as a possible sentence.