...By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
A Tragic Case of Neglect
In a distressing incident, a woman from west Wales, Kayley Elizabeth Pugh, aged 23, has received an animal ban and a suspended prison sentence for causing “unnecessary suffering” to four reptiles.
Shockingly, the reptiles were found dead in an advanced state of decomposition.
It is worth noting that Pugh did not own the reptiles but had been entrusted with their care by someone else.
The Gruesome Discovery
When the owner arrived to collect their eight reptiles, they found that four of them had perished.
RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben, upon visiting the premises in Alltwalis, observed several vivariums and was informed that there was a lack of water and heat for the reptiles.
The Grim Details
According to the RSPCA, among the deceased reptiles were two Leopard Geckos named Thor and Luna, as well as a Chinese Water Dragon named Maverick.
Additionally, a Crested Gecko named Oryx was discovered lifeless.
On the other hand, two Emerald Swifts named Bow and Arrow, a Leopard Gecko named Thor, and a Bearded Dragon named Hoggle were found alive.
Evidence of Negligence and Suffering
A veterinary surgeon who examined the dead and surviving reptiles provided a written statement.
The report revealed that the deceased reptiles had reached an advanced state of decomposition, indicating a lack of daily care.
Fly eggs were found on the skin and in the oral cavity of two carcasses.
Thor, Luna, and Maverick were all described as being emaciated, while Oryx was too deteriorated for an internal examination.
The vet’s conclusion suggested that the emaciated condition, low weights, and absence of food in the digestive systems of the three reptiles strongly indicated death by starvation.
The lack of proper nutrition, poor health, or loss of appetite were possible contributing factors.
Furthermore, Thora, the Leopard Gecko, suffered from poor health, ocular infection, and superficial skin injuries, leading to unnecessary suffering before passing away in RSPCA care.
Pugh, residing in Llandysul, appeared before Llanelli Magistrates’ Court, where she had previously admitted to two offenses under the Animal Welfare Act.
These offenses involved causing unnecessary suffering to two Leopard Geckos, Thor and Luna, a Chinese Crested Water Dragon named Maverick, and a Leopard Gecko named Thora.
The court sentenced Pugh to a 12-week prison term, suspended for 12 months, and imposed 150 hours of unpaid work, along with 12 rehabilitation days under probation.
Additionally, she was ordered to pay £400 in costs, a victim surcharge of £154, and received a 10-year ban on keeping mammals and reptiles.
A Call for Responsible Ownership
Inspector Hogben expressed deep sadness over the avoidable deaths of these reptiles and urged potential owners or caretakers to thoroughly research and understand the requirements of exotic pets before taking on the responsibility.
It is essential to ensure proper care is provided to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.