Pictures reveal the shocking fly-infested home where a woman left her pet cat to starve to death.
Three-year-old moggie Megan was founded dead in the home of the disgusting property after owner Deborah Ferry failed to return to feed her for four days.
The severely decomposed remains of another cat were also discovered behind a bath panel.
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A vet said Megan, who weighed just 4.1lb when she was found, had been starved and that her owner was failing to seek treatment for an undiagnosed liver disease exacerbated her problems.
Ferry, 49, of Matfen Gardens, Howdon, admitted three animal welfare offenses before North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court earlier this month and has now been banned from keeping any animal for the rest of her life.
The court heard how RSPCA inspectors visited the property in Tynemouth Road, Wallsend on August 25 last year and could see flies and rubbish strewn across the floor through the letterbox.
On August 29 the police were called to gain entry to the property where Megan was found dead next to a shopping trolley in the living room.
RSPCA inspector Rowena Proctor told the court: “The smell through the letterbox was dreadful and there were a lot of flies buzzing at the window. Once the door was open, the smell was so much worse than expected. Flies seemed to be everywhere, hundreds of them.
“An old indoor cage base from a guinea pig cage was being used as a litter tray. This was very dirty with numerous piles of faeces. The cooker top was completely covered by dirty dishes. The kitchen bench was filthy and had empty tins of cat food, a very spoiled bowl of milk which had flies stuck into the solidified top and two pet food bowls with some old, dried food.
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“The bedrooms were as messy and unclean as the rest of the property, again with bare floorboards, bare walls, paint faeces, general filter, food wrappers and stained mattresses. Entering the bathroom, it felt as though I was being swarmed by flies. The dirty toilet had at least 20 flies floating in it.”
The officer described how she noticed a “cat-sized” hole in the side of the bath and pulled the panel off to find a black and white cat which had been dead for some time. The animal’s pelvic bones were visible and no eyeballs remained in the head.
“Thousands of live fleas attached themselves to me once the panel was removed,” said the inspector. “I have dealt with a lot of ridden animals but I have never seen fleas to this extent.”
Ferry was arrested at an address in Wallsend later that day.
Ferry, who was also given a 12-week jail term, suspended for 18-months and ordered to pay a total of £754, described the living conditions as a “s*** hole” and said she was disgusted with herself.
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In the interview she said she had been staying with her partner and couldn’t afford the gas of electricity.
Speaking after sentencing, inspector Proctor added: “This was an extremely upsetting case to investigate. The conditions inside the house were horrendous and the amount of flies and fleas were on a scale that I hadn’t seen before.
“No animal should ever be put in a position where they are left to fend for themselves. If people are struggling we would urge them to contact animal welfare charities for assistance and help with rehoming, rather than leaving their pets to suffer and die alone like poor Megan did.”