Couple who kept 76 animals in filthy flat handed lifelong ban

The pair disregarded advice given by the Scottish SPCA and continued to collect multiple animals.

Aberdeenshire couple who kept 76 animals in filthy two-bedroom flat handed lifelong ban Scottish SPCA

An Aberdeenshire couple who pled guilty to keeping 76 animals in filthy conditions have been slapped with a lifetime ban each on owning and keeping any animals.

John Symons, 41, and his 36-year-old wife, Victoria, were also handed a community payback order and a 12-month supervision order following an investigation by the Scottish SPCA.

Fiona Mckenzie, SSPCA inspector, said she had tried to work with the couple on multiple occasions to improve the standard of living they provided to their pets.

At one point, a number of animals were also removed from their care, leaving the Symons with only two dogs and two cats – however, they disregarded advice given and continued to collect multiple animals.

“During these investigations a total of 76 animals were removed from the two-bedroom flat,” inspector McKenzie said.

“These animals included dogs, cats, kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, gerbils, a parrot and various small birds.”

Inspectors discovered cats hidden inside pet carriers kept in cupboards, and more kittens found under dirty laundry.

The smell within the flat was “horrendous”, Insp McKenzie said, adding: “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 pair were found to have failed to provide necessary veterinary treatment, a suitable or clean living environment, or a suitable diet for their animals.

John Symons pled guilty to multiple charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals and failing to ensure the welfare of all animals under their care at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on November 24 last year; Victoria Symons pled guilty to one charge.

“The Symons could have easily prevented their animals from suffering by providing adequate nutrition and seeking veterinary treatment for their medical conditions,” Insp McKenzie said.

“I feel the lifetime ban on owning or keeping any animals handed to both John and Victoria Symons on February 22, 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.”

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