Pensioner Who Kept Parrots In Fifthy Conditions Has Been Banned From Keeping Animals For Life

PUBLISHED: 15:14 04 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:08 04 May 2010

A DISABLED pensioner who kept parrots in filthy conditions has been banned from keeping birds and animals for the rest of his life. John Smith has a month to get rid of more than 60 birds, along with his chickens, and a number of dogs kept at his Little D

A DISABLED pensioner who kept parrots in filthy conditions has been banned from keeping birds and animals for the rest of his life.

John Smith has a month to get rid of more than 60 birds, along with his chickens, and a number of dogs kept at his Little Downham farm.

A raid on Smith's premises found three parrots in aviaries contaminated with faeces, and one bird was so ill it had to be destroyed.

The 76-year-old bird fancier - given a lifetime ban from keeping equines back in 2003 - complained he had been dealt with by "a kangaroo court" as he left Ely courthouse on Thursday.

The squalid aviaries were discovered when a warrant was executed at Smith's Cophall Farm in a joint operation between police and the Environment Agency on March 25. The RSPCA seized three parrots.

A Princess Parrot "was staggering around, it was disorientated and its feathers were dirty with faeces," said prosecutor Laura Mardell. "It was unable to stand straight." No perch was provided, and the cage floor was covered in faeces. The bird was later destroyed.

The cage of an African Grey parrot contained two-inches of faeces; and a huge amount of food material had become mixed with faeces in the cage of a Red fronted African parrot.

Smith admitted breaching the Animal Welfare Act by failing to provide a suitable environment for three parrots, and admitted causing unnecessary suffering to two birds by failing to provide veterinary care and adequate food and water.

Mitigating, Robert Milsom said Smith had kept birds since his childhood, he took them to shows, and bought and sold birds. He owned 62 exotic birds, mostly canaries.

"The great majority of birds and animals were properly looked after," added Mr Milsom.

"He did not keep all the cages sufficiently clean, but did clean the cages on a regular basis."

"This case has come as a jolt to his confidence and his pride; he is genuinely fond of the birds. He has not attained modern standards at the end of his bird keeping career."

Smith was fined £250 and must pay veterinary bills of £394 and a £15 surcharge.

After the case, RSPCA Inspector Richard Lythgoe said he was "thrilled" about Smith's lifetime ban. A number of exotic birds kept at the RSPCA Block Fen premises in Wimblington need rehoming, he added.

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