Bearded dragon court case Chubbys eye 2
Chubby, showing his enlarged eye

Couple who sold animals online have been banned for neglect

A BRIDGWATER couple who neglected bearded dragons have been disqualified from keeping exotic pets for ten years.

Martin Geary (31) and Lesley Donnelly (25), of Poplar Road, were sentenced when they appeared before North Somerset Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to animal welfare offences, following a prosecution by the RSPCA.

Concerns had been raised after bearded dragons being sold by the couple through online animal selling sites caught the attention of an exotic animal rescuer, who contacted the RSPCA to voice animal welfare fears over what they had seen.

Inspector Jo Daniel, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, visited the couple’s home where she discovered three bearded dragons.

She said: “I was shocked when Donnelly moved a bookcase that was leaning on what I thought was a disused tank on the floor to see that this was where the bearded dragons were being housed.

“The vivarium was dirty with a smashed area of glass in the bottom right corner. I could see a lizard’s leg protruding through this hole. There were three bearded dragons in the vivarium. All appeared very quiet and subdued.

“The largest was the one with its foot protruding, who I was advised was called Chubby. It was immediately apparent that he was emaciated and he also had grossly swollen eyes, in particular the right.

“The second was a juvenile female and was the smallest of the three with smaller darker spines. This bearded dragon was also emaciated with the spine and pelvis prominent and a damaged tail. The last bearded dragon, a  juvenile male, was slightly bigger and had white spines and was also emaciated with spine and pelvis prominent and a tail injury.

“An exotic animal vet who examined the bearded dragons concluded that they were kept in inappropriate conditions resulting in stress, suffering, and illness. The broken glazing put them at risk of injury.

“The inappropriate feeding resulted in malnutrition, stress and illness, and the poor sanitary conditions resulted in parasitic disease which in turn resulted in illness.”

Chubby had to be put to sleep by a vet on the day of his rescue. The other two bearded dragons were taken to an RSPCA animal rescue centre where they were immediately housed in a vivarium with appropriate heat and UV light, food and water and their condition began to improve. They have since been rehomed with experienced owners.

Alongside the ban, which cannot be appealed for five years, each were ordered to carry out a six-month curfew order, which means they must remain at their home address between 8pm and 7am daily. There were each also ordered to pay £600 costs and a £90 victim surcharge.

 

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