Snake owner jailed for cruelty to live bait in UK

A 43-year-old man who kept mice, rats and rabbits in atrocious conditions to feed to his pet snakes in the UK has been jailed for 150 days and banned from keeping animals.

London: A 43-year-old man who kept mice, rats and rabbits in atrocious conditions to feed to his pet snakes in the UK has been jailed for 150 days and banned from keeping animals.

Steven Riddell was found with 130 small animals in cramped, urine-soaked cages and containers at his home in Erskine, Renfrewshire, in April last year.

Riddell's behaviour was "an affront" to animal welfare," Sheriff Colin Pettigrew, at Paisley Sheriff Court was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Inside the greenhouse, under a tarpaulin, the animals stored in cages were in stifling conditions with little or no ventilation or natural light, said a senior inspector at Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).

Riddell admitted breaching the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

A senior SSPCA inspector later said that in all of her many years of service, she had never seen animals being kept in such atrocious conditions.

She said she had felt disgusted to think that Riddell "saw them as nothing more than a cheap food source for his reptiles", which appeared to be well cared for inside his house.

The court heard that following the discovery, Riddell had agreed to hand over ownership of all the small animals to the Scottish SPCA.

Many were put down, although some were nursed back to health and re-homed. 

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