Man, 73, banned from keeping animals for life

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A 73-year-old widower has been banned from keeping animals for the rest of his life after an RSPCA prosecution against him.

Cyril Eaton, of Lion Green, Barrow, pleaded guilty at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court to five offences under the Animal Welfare Act for failing to meet the needs of 25 cats and for causing unnecessary suffering to a Jack Russell dog.

Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA last Thursday, Hugh Rowland said the RSPCA found the dog, which was ‘lively’ and ‘keen for human contact’, at the Barrow address on April 4.

Mr Rowland said the dog, later found to be a six-year-old called Blue, had fur loss and was bleeding from ‘constant scratching’. He was covered in fleas and his nails were so long it was difficult for him to stand.

Twenty-five ‘nervous’ cats were also found in the house, which was covered in faeces and had a ‘strong smell of urine’.

Mr Rowland said the animals had no access to the outside, no clean air or ventilation and no space to exercise or play.

The court heard that Eaton refused to allow the removal of the cats and was arrested by police. The animals were later seized.

Four days later, the RSPCA went back to Eaton’s house and discovered a kitten and a cat still at the address. He refused to sign them over.

In mitigation, Kevin McCarthy said: “He is mortified to think that anyone might suggest that he has been deliberately cruel.”

Mr McCarthy said the house was now clean and that Eaton had ‘struggled on his own’ and had ended up with the dog after his daughter could no longer keep it as a family pet.

He added that the cats were Eaton’s company and ‘connection with the rest of the world’. The court heard that Eaton did not know he could get any help with the animals.

Eaton was disqualified from owning or keeping animals for the rest of his life. The final two cats were seized and he was ordered to pay £500 towards costs.