Armley Vets left animals to suffer in filthy 'dungeon'

media captionPolice discovered 22 dogs and eight cats - some of them in cages - in the basement and back room of Armley Vets in February

A vet and his assistant have been convicted of keeping animals in a "filthy dungeon" in Leeds.

Police discovered 22 dogs and eight cats - some of them in cages - in the basement and back room of Armley Vets in February.

Four dogs and a cat had to be put down following the raid on the Town Street practice.

Vet Gary Samuel and assistant Rochelle McEwan were found guilty after a trial at Leeds Magistrates' Court.

image copyrightRSPCA
image captionSome of the dogs found at Armley Vets were Husky puppies

RSPCA inspector Nikki Cheetham said officers discovered some of the animals by accessing a trap door covered with carpet, while others were found shut in a separate room.

"The dogs were found living in cages in a pitch black dungeon," she said.

"It was filthy, there was faeces everywhere, and they had no access to food or water. Most of the cats were shut in one room, which was also covered with excrement.

"The condition of these animals and the way in which they were being kept was appalling."

image copyrightRSPCA
image captionBoth cats and dogs were found in cages
image copyrightRSPCA
image captionOther animals were found in a back room covered in faeces

All the dogs were husky-types, including several puppies, with the exception of two Chinese crested dogs.

The majority were signed over to the RSPCA, which launched an investigation and 21 animals have now been rehomed.

Struck off

Samuel, 49, of Weston Road, Enfield, north London, was struck off by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2013 following a conviction for theft, common assault and a public order offence.

The Privy Council overturned this in 2014 after ruling his removal from the veterinary register was a "disproportionately severe" punishment.

An earlier investigation in 2011 by the RCVS into Samuel's conduct while working as a veterinary surgeon at Nottingham Greyhound Stadium was dismissed.

Samuel and McEwan, 28, of Stonecliffe Close, Leeds, were convicted on Thursday of six offences under the Animal Welfare Act and will be sentenced next month.

The RCVS said it would launch an investigation in light of the new conviction. The Privy Council declined to comment.

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