A couple from Aberdeenshire have been sentenced to a lifetime ban each for owning and keeping any animals, a community payback order and a 12-month supervision order following an investigation by the charity.
41-year-old John Symons pled guilty to numerous charges of causing unnecessary suffering to several of their animals and failing to ensure the welfare of all animals under their care at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on 24 November 2022. His 36-year-old wife, Victoria Symons, pled guilty to one charge. They failed to provide necessary veterinary treatment resulting in suffering. The animals were not provided with a suitable or clean living environment thus preventing them to exhibit normal behaviour, nor were they provided with a suitable diet. The Symons failed to protect their animals from suffering, injury and disease.
Scottish SPCA inspector, Fiona McKenzie, said: “I tried on several occasions to work with John and Victoria Symons in relation to their animals. Initially a number of animals were removed reducing them to an acceptable number of two dogs and two cats. Both the Symons disregarded advice given and continued to accumulate multiple animals.
“During these investigations a total of 76 animals were removed from the two-bedroom flat. These animals included dogs, cats, kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, gerbils, a parrot and various small birds.
“On searches of the property cats were found hidden within pet carriers in cupboards and kittens found under dirty laundry.
“The smell within the property was horrendous due to the amount of animal’s excrement. It was so bad it could be smelt in the communal landing. These animals were extremely stressed and in ill health due to such poor living conditions.
“I was extremely disappointed with the owners in this case of neglect as we made every effort to try and help the couple initially. The continuing neglect and suffering being caused to animals resulted in a case reported to the procurator fiscal.
“The Symons could have easily prevented their animals from suffering by providing adequate nutrition and seeking veterinary treatment for their medical conditions.
“I feel the lifetime ban on owning or keeping any animals handed to both John and Victoria Symons on 22nd February 2023 is a justified outcome for the suffering these animals had to endure.
“If anyone is concerned about an animal, they can contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”