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More than 120 animals were left to starve on a farm of horrors run by two young women.
Driven by profit, Rio-Anne Katie Jane Dickinson and Hannah Olivia Wilkinson, both 20, neglected a range of birds, sheep, a goat and rodents on land they rented during the Covid-19 lockdown last year.
RSPCA investigators found birds walking on other dead birds, animal corpses in plastic bags for burning and of all the creatures on the farm, only two guinea pigs had access to water.
Teesside Magistrates' Court in Middlesbrough heard how they sold animals without a licence or vet support at Bog Hall Farm, in Mordon, County Durham.
The pair, who were in a relationship at the time, were responsible for hens, chickens, quails, ducks and guinea fowl two sheep, two hamsters, four guinea pigs, two budgerigars as well as a goat and a rabbit.
Alex Bousfield, prosecuting, said concerns were raised by others who had bought animals from the farm and found they were covered in lice.
He said the operator of the farm, who leased it to the defendants, carried out three spot checks over a two week period and contacted the RSPCA on July 29 last year.
The prosecutor said there were also concerns raised about the number of dead birds and the fact there were dogs on the farm which appeared to have been fed some of the birds.
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He said: "One was found to have blood on its front. It didn't have any injury. It was being fed or catching some kind of bird.
"Having seen what was going on the operator realised enough was enough and called in the RSPCA and on attendance five birds were found to be walking around over the bodies of dead birds."
Mr Bousfield told the court that when the RSPCA attended there was only two guinea pigs with food and water.
He said: "We have got 121 animals in this case. Only two were properly provided with food and water.
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"Other than the guinea pigs none of them had food or water.
"There was no registration for the animals involved, particularly the sheep and goat – they should have been reported to Defra."
Mr Bousfield said the defendants were selling quails in pairs but had been left with too many males.
He said: "They were in pens and they were also starving. They were aggressive to each other."
Mr Bousfield said that one of the quails bit an eye out of a hamster and the small pet died after Dickinson and Wilkinson failed to get it treatment.
He said two hamsters were found to have skin conditions which hadn't been treated and a guinea pig had to be euthanised after it developed teeth which were too long.
A chicken also had to be put to sleep after it was found with a plastic ring inside its leg and a duck was subjected to feather plucking of its wings by other birds.
Mr Bousfield said: "The vast majority were in a poor state, some were in a reasonable state, so were the guinea pigs, but the majority of them were not.
"Many of the animals were emaciated.
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"Some of the animals needed to be euthanised as well."
Police attended the farm and the suffering animals were signed over to the RSPCA.
Dickinson said in an interview that in one week she had sold 500 birds.
Mr Bousfield added: "It was clear that the leasing arrangement was set up and the lease was for the premises and not the care of the animals. That would remain with these two defendants throughout."
On Tuesday morning, June 22, both defendants pleaded guilty to five counts of unnecessary suffering.
They also admitted a sixth charge of not taking steps that were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which they were responsible.
All of the offences took place in July last year.
The judge handed the pair bail until their sentencing hearing on July 21.
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