On 5/5/23 Harry Angell and Amy Byrne (a former British Transport Police Officer) of Downbank Avenue, Bexleyheath respectively received immediate custodial sentences of 40 months and 44 months. Both were disqualified for life from owning all animals for fraud offences and failing to provide veterinary treatment in respect of intestinal disease and cat flu; and selling the animals in an unfit state and failing to provide veterinary treatment in respect of intestinal disease and diarrhoea.
The RSPCA investigated after complaints from members of the public who had purchased kittens who were poorly, malnourished, covered in their own urine and faeces and in some cases sadly died. The investigation revealed 175 adverts on a number sites including Gumtree, Pets 4 Homes and FreeAds. Prices paid ranged between just £50 to in excess of £1,500 for the kittens who were in poor condition and some of whom either died shortly after purchase or had to be put to sleep due to their poor condition.
RSPCA Inspectors and a vet attended the property of Byrne and Angell and found a number of young kittens malnourished, with watery diarrhoea, dirty bottoms, legs and tails. Cats were living in hutches outside the property in the garden. Of the animals removed from the property one kitten sadly died.
RSPCA inspector Kirsten Ormerod said after sentencing: “There are many unsuitable breeders out there who can fool people into thinking the animals are healthy and are a one-off litter from a much loved pet, but often this is far from the truth. We would always encourage prospective pet owners to think about adopting one of the many cats in our rescue centres, who so desperately need and deserve a new home.