Plymouth landlady kept exotic pets in 'atrocious' state
A PUB manager neglected 20 animals including snakes and lizards which were found dead or living in 'atrocious conditions', a court heard.
Sharon Lynch, aged 39, kept cats and exotic animals, many living in their own faeces, at her home, Plymouth Magistrates' Court were told.
Police alerted by a strong smell found nine dead snakes, lizards and spiders at her home in Crownhill, the court heard.
A vet told the court that some of their bodies had lain there for weeks and other creatures had been living among their own faeces for just as long.
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He said many also had inappropriate heating and lighting or flooring in their tanks.
Lynch, who described herself in interview as a former US veterinary technician, had denied a charge of failing to protect 23 animals in her care from pain, injury, suffering and disease in July and August 2010.
They were two boa constrictors, a python, three spiders, four bearded dragons, three leopard geckos, two jewelled lizards, two blue-tongued skinks, a tortoise, a monitor lizard and four cats.
But Lynch, a pub manager now living in Rubury, Birmingham, failed to attend her trial and was found guilty in her absence of neglecting all but two of the spiders and a lizard.
District judge Kevin Gray issued a warrant for her arrest so she can be brought to court and sentenced.
Will Rose, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the charity would ask the sentencing court to ban Lynch from keeping animals and demand that she pay thousands of pounds in costs.
The RSPCA offered no evidence against her former husband Mark Lynch, a 33-year-old Royal Navy sailor now living in Liverpool. He attended for trial on the same matter but the case was discharged.
Mr Rose, opening the case, said a policeman attended the couple's former home in Hunter Close on another matter.
He said Pc Karl Cowling forced entry because he was concerned about a strong smell coming from the property.
Mr Rose said he found nobody home but there were two adult cats and two kittens which had been left without food and water.
The court heard there was also a flea infestation and their litter trays were overflowing.
Mr Rose said: "He found a snake in the kitchen was alive. Other animals were upstairs in the bedroom and it became apparent some of the animals were dead and some were in an advanced state of decay."
Vet Stephen Grills, who attended the home on August 19, said: "The level of care was atrocious. You only needed to go into the property or smell it to know that."
He spelt out in detail how some of the animals had been left for weeks either dead or without their tanks being cleaned.
RSPCA inspector Becky Wade said after the case that the surviving animals had all made a full recovery and were rehomed.
She said: "Obviously we welcome the outcome and look forward to the sentence.
"A lot of people do not know how to look after reptiles, it is a huge problem."