Pet owner caused death of two cats and badly neglected three other animals at South Shields home

A pet owner caused the death of two cats by starvation and badly neglected two more moggies and a dog, a court heard.

Stephen Scott’s catalogue of abuse at his filth-ridden then home in Vine Street, South Shields, was only ended by RSPCA intervention.

His inability to properly feed black and white cat Shankly and tortoiseshell female Cuddles led to them being put down.

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Despite the squalor of his animal faeces and filth filled property, he refused to sign his pets over to the welfare charity – leading to more suffering.

Stephen Scott will be sentenced next month.Stephen Scott will be sentenced next month.
Stephen Scott will be sentenced next month.

Scott’s black and white female dog Lara was also plagued by fleas which he would not treat, despite being given a £50 care voucher by an inspector.

It in part led to the distressed pooch suffering fur loss along the length of its back, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told.

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Scott, 21, pleaded guilty to five charges of animal cruelty, between January 1 and February 4.

RSPCA prosecutor Alex Bousfield said the charity and social services had been involved with Scott in September 2019, when he was given the flea treatment voucher.

One of the cats taken into RSPCA care.One of the cats taken into RSPCA care.
One of the cats taken into RSPCA care.

He said: “Stephen Scott was given three weeks to do this. He was offered advice to sign over some of the animals, but he wouldn’t do that.

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“An inspector went to the address on December 3. The litter trays were dirty and there was dog mess on the floor.

“Stephen Scott confirmed that he hadn’t done the flea treatment. He was given further advice.

“On December 4 a maintenance worker saw a cat and believed it needed to be treated by a vet.

The state the RSPCA officer found at Scott's home.The state the RSPCA officer found at Scott's home.
The state the RSPCA officer found at Scott's home.
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“He was so concerned that he drove Stephen Scott to a vets. This cat had to be euthanized.

“The RSPCA returned and saw that Lara had suffered fur loss along the length of its back.”

Mr Bousfield added: “A post-mortem of Shankly and Cuddles was done and the underlying cause of death was a lack of nutrition.

“It’s clear that his neglect was the cause of death. There’s no other reason for the cats to have died.

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Another of the cats taken into RSPCA care.Another of the cats taken into RSPCA care.
Another of the cats taken into RSPCA care.

“It’s prolonged and it's effectively deliberate neglect. There’s no reason for these animals not to have been fed.”

Sophie Ellinson, defending, said: “He took on far more than he could look after, he took on more than he should have.

“His head knew that he was struggling but his heart said that he loved them.

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“When the request was made for him to sign them over, he should have.

“He struggles to look after himself. He is vulnerable and has learning difficulties. All that’s left is to pass on his most sincere apologies.”

The case comes after Scott was found guilty of animal neglect charges in his absence, but the case was returned to the court after he applied for his conviction to be set aside.

Magistrates adjourned the case for reports and ordered that Scott, now of Hillsview Avenue, Fawdon, Newcastle, to return to the same court on Wednesday, January 6, and granted Scott unconditional bail.

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