A FLEETWOOD man who kept 37 dogs in appalling conditions has walked free from court.
Michael Heath was prosecuted following a visit by the RSPCA to a pre-fab building off Ashton Road, Lancaster, in June last year.
Preston Crown Court heard some of the animals had eye problems, some had matted fur and hair and in the end two dogs had to be put down.
Heath, 36, of Springfield Terrace, Fleetwood, admitted four offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
He was ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work for the community and was banned from owning or keeping animals for five years.
The court heard that the defendant, who described himself as an animal lover, had intended to set up an animal welfare place, where neglected dogs would be taken in, looked after and provided with new homes.
Before the RSPCA’S visit, a partner or assistant had left and this had led to difficulties.
The building was found to have dog mess all over the place that had not been cleaned up.
The dogs had not had any water for around 12 hours and there was no food around them.
Judge Andrew Woolman said as he passed sentence “I express astonishment that an animal lover could allow these animals to descend into such a dreadful condition”.
He also told him “It’s not entirely clear to me what operation you were intending to run. You say to the court it was meant to be an animal welfare establishment.
“For my part, I can’t see how the economics of that would all add up.
“I don’t quite see how you and a partner were intending to do this act of kindness to animals without any money.”