A MAN and woman from the North York Moors have been given suspended sentences for a number of animal welfare offences after police and RSPCA officers found more than 40 animals living in ‘hell’.

Mandy Allinson, 52, and Michael Connolly, 56, both of Grosmont, appeared at York Magistrates’ Court last week for trial after denying ten offences each.

But on Monday both changed their pleas and each admitted three offences under the animal welfare act, and on Wednesday they were sentenced to 10 weeks in prison, suspended for one year.

They were also given a curfew requirement, ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge and disqualified from keeping cats for seven years.

RSPCA officers joined police to execute a warrant at the property in Whitby in September 2017.

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RSPCA Inspector Claire Little said: “We received a number of calls from members of the public who had bought puppies from the premises and, once home, they’d fallen ill.

“This couple were running an unregistered, unlicensed business and they were not properly protecting the dogs’ welfare.”

When officers raided the property they found 40 dogs and puppies, three cats and a guinea pig at the address.

“It was cold, dark, dank and filthy in the barn. Some dogs were kept in cramped, dirty cages stacked on top of each other, while other dogs were in disgusting kennels covered in dirt and faeces.

"It absolutely stank inside the barn, it was hell.”

All the animals were removed and signed over into RSPCA care - including eight puppies born in the charity’s care - and will now be rehomed.

Inspector Little added: “The puppies were all being kept inside the house while the adult dogs were kept out in a barn.

“The dogs were yellow with urine stains and covered in fleas. Many were riddled with worms and suffering from nasty diseases like giardia, campylobacter and coccidia.”

French bulldogs, collies, cocker spaniels, poodles and fashionable crossbreeds, such as cockerpoos, were taken into RSPCA care.

“This couple were clearly trying to cash in on the popularity of designer dogs such as cockerpoos but they were failing to meet these dogs’ basic needs and many were seriously poorly,” Inspector Little said.

“It was overcrowded, the disease control was poor and many of the dogs had matted coats and untreated open wounds. The floor was caked in faeces and water bowls were empty and upturned.

“Some had nasty skin infections and had made themselves bleed from constant scratching. One of the dogs had almost 2kg of matted fur removed.”

A guinea pig was found in a cage in one barn and three cats were found running loose in another barn on the site.