Vet accused of keeping animals in filthy conditions faces wait on appeal decision

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A Leeds vet who was given a suspended prison sentence after police discovered 30 dogs and cats living in filthy conditions at his surgery in Armley will not find out if his appeal has been successful until April.

Gary Samuel and his former assistant and girlfriend Rochelle McEwan launched appeals against their convictions last month, but after hearing 11 days of evidence and legal submissions the judge and two magistrates dealing with the case have reserved their decision.

The case hit the headlines back in 2016 when Leeds magistrates heard shocking details of the squalid conditions found at the Armley Vets premises in Town Street in February 2015.

At the start of the appeal hearing last month Bradford Crown Court, heard how police visited the property after receiving a 999 call in which it was alleged that Samuel was threatening to kill his girlfriend with a hammer.

Barrister Paul Taylor, for the respondent, said while officers were at the premises Samuel removed a carpet and opened a trapdoor which led to a faeces-covered cellar containing 12 Husky-type dogs in pens.

One cat and four dogs were later put down on veterinary advice and Mr Taylor alleged that the animals were simply not being fed enough by the two appellants.

Back in 2016 51-year-old Samuel, who also operated a surgery in London, and McEwan, 30, were each given 12-week suspended prison sentences after the magistrates convicted them of offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

Mr Taylor said Samuel, of Weston Road, Enfield, accepted that the conditions at the surgery were “disgraceful” but he said the fault lay with McEwan.

Samuel said his former partner “collected” cats and dogs, but never fed them and he told police that he had asked her to leave with the animals.

McEwan, of Stonecliffe Close, Leeds, told police that most of the animals were “rescue cases” that would otherwise have been euthanised and they were going to be rehabilitated and re-homed.

She said she had provided food and water and had also walked the Huskies and suggested that the animals’ poor condition could have been the result of eating some raw food.

McEwan told police that the situation was a “stop-gap” as she had fallen out with Samuel and was going to leave.

The appeal hearing, which included expert evidence for both the sides, had been due to last about five days.

Today (Monday) Recorder Jamie Hill QC said the case would next be heard at the crown court on April 4 and the final judgement could take between one and two hours.

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