Man failed to look after snakes found in 'disgusting' conditions, court hears

Ricky McWee who has been accused of animal welfare offences, including causing unnecessary suffering to a Reticulated Python

Ricky McWee has been convicted of animal welfare offences, including causing unnecessary suffering to a Reticulated Python. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

A man has been ordered to pay £645 for not looking after four snakes that were found living in “disgusting” conditions. 

Ricky McWee, 28, of Princess Court in Holt, was found guilty at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court on Tuesday (February 22) of causing unnecessary suffering to a reticulated python by failing to ensure the animal received care from a vet for a swelling to its mouth.

He was also convicted of two counts of failing to ensure the welfare of his four snakes. McWee was fined £100 and ordered to pay costs of £450 and a victim surcharge of £95.

He had denied all charges

Steven De La Salle will stand trial at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court on November 24 2020. Google

Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court. - Credit: Google Maps

The court heard that McWee and his ex-girlfriend Laura Graham had lived together at the flat on Cabbell Road until they broke up in December 2020.

Ms Graham told Hazel Stevens, prosecuting, that McKee was responsible for the snakes.

She said he was made move out of the flat on February 17 last year after his dog bit her and that he was not to come back without police presence.

She told the court that she called the RSPCA on February 24 after seeing that the room where the snakes were being kept was a "pigsty".

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"I had asked him to come sort them out. He never did," she said. 

The court heard that RSPCA officer Dean Astiberry inspected the flat on February 26 and found a "very strong smell of reptile faeces, urine and rotting animals" in the bedroom where the snakes were being kept.

Their vivariums were dirty and contained faeces and old skin, he said.

In one vivarium there were two reticulated pythons in one enclosure. One of them was 12 foot long and was "dehydrated and underweight".

The other, ten foot long, was suffering from mouth rot and was later taken to a vet but the infection was so extensive the animal needed to be euthanised, the court heard.  

One of the two Burmese pythons had odd breathing and no water.

The court also heard from a statement by Dillon Prest, of Swallow Aquatics in East Harling, who said conditions were "disgusting" and it was "very likely the animals had been neglected for quite some time".

McWee told the court that he and Ms Graham had bought the snakes together and that when he was living in the flat they were "well looked after".

The chairperson of the bench said they realised McWee had difficulties after the break up but he had "made no alternative arrangements for the welfare of the animals".