Veterinarian Keeps Shocking Secret Living Under Floor
"These are her animals. She never feeds them, just collects them."
That's what a British veterinarian reportedly told police last year after revealing a filthy "dungeon" under his office where more than a dozen cats and dogs starved in almost total darkness.
In February, officers were called to Armley Vets in Leeds over a domestic dispute between veterinarian Gary Samuel and Rochelle McEwan, his partner and assistant.
Once there, however, prosecutors say Samuel moved a table and pulled back a rug to uncover a secret trapdoor to a urine-soaked basement where 12 huskies and three cats were hidden.
"The condition of these animals and the way in which they were being kept was appalling," said RSPCA Inspector Nikki Cheetham. "It was filthy, there [were feces] 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."
"It is unthinkable to consider what was going on in this surgery as clients were coming and going, paying their vet fees."
In the end, authorities removed a total of 30 animals from the office where the couple lived and worked. Twenty-one of them have since been adopted, the BBC reports.
Prosecutors believe Samuel was trying to incriminate McEwan, but on Friday both of them were convicted of six different animal cruelty and neglect charges.
At most, Samuel and McEwan will spend only six months in jail, The Express reports, but at least one RSPCA official seemed satisfied with the case's conclusion.
"I am very pleased with the decision made by the judge," said Cheetham.