Animal farm with little to no food or water

RSPCA Inspector Claire Mitchell attended an area of land that consisted of two large poultry sheds, a dilapidated railway carriage and a wooden outhouse.

Claire was immediately concerned for the welfare of the animals as most appeared to have little or no water and were poorly accommodated.

Animals found on site

Resources Animal(s) condition
Three pigs Railway carriage No food or water, minimal straw for bedding Lying out flat, appeared lethargic
Four ducklings Pen In direct sunlight, cramped, no food or water, no space for feeders or drinkers Standing in their own faeces, showing signs of distress by the opening their beaks
Two donkeys Poultry shed Very little hay or straw bedding, complete darkness despite daylight outside, rear doors unable to open due to high weeds and nettles Reasonable body condition but overgrown hooves impacted with faecal matter
A calf Extremely small wooden structure within poultry shed Small hay net draped over but out of reach, almost no bedding to lie down Thin body condition, suckling when fingers were placed in his mouth
Four turkeys, 11 guinea fowl and two chickens Mobile poultry enclosure One very dirty water feeder, smaller birds would struggle to to feed due to mixed species, space too small Guinea fowl were in poor condition with keel bones showing
A Rex rabbit and a lionhead rabbit Small rabbit hutch Cage too small, no food, water in a dirty container, no bedding Rabbits were lying in their own faeces, lionhead had a matted coat
A chicken Small cage in second poultry barn No food or water Emaciated and so weak could not get out of the cage, chronic respiratory condition called mycoplasma which could've been treated if been diagnosed sooner. Euthanased due to the severe sufering.
Six rabbits A trailer No ventilation Undisclosed
Five rabbits Two-tier rabbit hutch No food or water, very little space Living in their own faeces, unable to express natural behaviour
Ducks, a cockerel, a rabbit and male black kitten Wooden outhouse Kitten had no bedding, evidence of biscuits for food, no water, bowl of milk (not suitable for cats as they're lactose intolerant), not much room to move around due to any wooden posts Rabbit was hiding from the other animals in the corner of the room. Kittens litter tray piled high with faeces, empty biscuit cartons suggest he'd been there a long time
Some pullets A box No food or water When box was moved the bottom fell out as saturated with faecal matter
Two degus Hamster cage No food or water, in direct sunlight One was subdued
Six fancy fowl, two canaries Cardboard box No food or water Box heavily soiled with faeces suggesting they'd been there a while

All of the animals were removed to boarding facilities except for the free ranging poultry.

The man said the animals would be regularly given to his young son by numerous people after they'd failed to sell at market and confirmed none had ever seen a vet whilst in his care.

Failed to meet animals' needs

The man was summonsed with failing to meet the needs of animals including rabbits, two cockerels and a hen, guinea fowl, a kitten, two degu, pullets, Muscovy ducklings and two yellow canaries by:

  • not providing a suitable environment in which to live
  • failing to protect them from pain, injury, suffering and disease contrary to section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

He pleaded guilty to these two offences in respect of a number of the animals at York Magistrates court.


  • Investigating officer: RSPCA Inspector Claire Mitchell
  • Defendant: Male 68, unemployed
  • Offence: Animal Welfare Act 2006 S9
  • Plea: Guilty
  • Convictions: Two
  • Sentence: Disqualified from keeping all small caged or hutched mammals for 10 years; 12 week curfew order; £850 costs.
  • Prosecuted by: Freeman Brown Solicitors


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