GRAPHIC: Woman fined, banned from owning animals for life
A MAN and woman have both received hefty penalties after they and their animals lived in what a magistrate has described as "appalling squalor".
Chloe Beverly Candy and Alejandro Recio pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court on Thursday to three counts each of failing to provide appropriate accommodation or living conditions.
Lawyer prosecuting for the RSPCA, Nicole McEldowney told the court the offences occurred between March and December 2018.
The court heard the couple had 10 cats, 17 kittens and eight dogs.
The RSPCA received reports in late 2017 of the couple having a large number of animals including, cats, dogs, poultry and goats.
The pair were ordered to reduce the number of animals and clean up, with further compliance checks showing they had done so.
In February 2018, Police contacted the RSPCA and told them there were four dogs, four geese and 14 cats living in poor conditions at the property.
Ms McEldowney said the cats were all living inside the house which "smelt putrid from faeces and urine".
"The dogs were confined to the rear deck and surrounded by faeces" she said.
In the lead-up to December the RSPCA received more information about animals and the living conditions, they also attended the property many times where they gave the couple advice on the care for animals and ordered messes to be cleaned up.
On December 18, a warranted seizure was carried out at the property after police told the RSPCA living conditions were terrible, with windows smashed and cats roaming inside the home.
When the RSPCA inspector asked Candy how many animals were at the home she told him she didn't know.
"The inspector entered the property and saw the floors covered in faeces and urine," Ms McEldowney said.
"There were a large number of cats walking around the house and it was a chaotic mess."
Ms McEldowney said Recio arrived home during the search and took the inspector to a shed where a dog was.
There were faeces all over the floor.
Candy accepted the living conditions were not appropriate and said conditions deteriorated due to her being depressed, her social anxiety and her being diagnosed as bipolar.
She told the inspector every time she saw a cat advertised on social media she would take it in as she couldn't help herself.
Recio admitted things had got out of hand.
All the animals were seized by the RSPCA and where found to have dental issues and lapsed coats.
Recio's lawyer Matt Maloy told the court both Candy and Recio had since moved out of the home and no longer owned any pets.
Candy's lawyer Morgan Harris told the court the state of the house coincided with a low point in her life.
Mr Harris said some of the cats belonged to the couple's elderly neighbour who had passed away and Candy was unaware they were pregnant.
Magistrate Andrew Moloney took into account both Candy and Recio's plea of guilty and considered them as early.
He also took into account the facts put to the court by Ms McEldowney.
Mr Moloney described the living conditions as "appalling squalor".
"If you can't look after yourself, how can you look after animals?" he said.
Mr Moloney said although no proof was tendered to the court in regards to Candy's mental health issues, he felt he had to accept them because of the "rapid disintegration" it the living conditions.
He also took into account Recio had a criminal history.
Candy was ordered to 12 months' probation and was prohibited from owning animals for life, but can have the prohibition reviewed every five years.
She was ordered to pay $18,301 in vet bills as well as $649 in legal and court costs.
Recio was fined $1200 with half to go to the RSPCA and was prohibited from owning animals for two years.
He was also ordered to pay a total of $649 in court and legal costs as well as $125 in vet bills.
Convictions were not recorded for either Candy or Recio.