Mum jailed after boy, 4, found in squalor with 20 ferrets and 14 dogs

A MUM has been jailed for child neglect after her four-year-old son was found in a house crammed with TWENTY ferrets running loose, and FOURTEEN dogs.
As soon as he was discovered the boy was taken to the high dependency unit at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, Lancashire, where he was only able to take food through a gastric tube.
He’d been living in “absolute squalor”, a court heard, with rubbish, rancid food and animal faeces on the floor.  There were also two dead birds in cages.
A police officer chanced upon the boy at the house in east Lancashire, when he visited to investiagate a missing dog. The boy can’t be named forlegal reasons.
His 21-year-old mother was sentenced yesterday (Thus 3 April) to two years in prison at Preston Crown Court, Lancashire, for neglecting her son.
PC Lloyd Jones, the officer who found the boy, said the conditions he encountered were ‘the worst he had ever seen’, the court heard.
He had only been visiting the house as part of an investigation about a missing dog.
But when he went inside, he found the youngster on a mattress in appalling conditions.
He was so ill he needed a feeding tube to his stomach, and he had a serious bacterial infection to an open wound on his torso.
The boy was rushed to the high dependency unit at the Royal Blackburn Hospital for treatment.
Judge Anthony Russell QC, the recorder at Preston Crown Court, said it was a ‘bad example’ of this type of case.
He told the boy’s mother: “The neglect was over a period of two months and appears to have commenced when you moved from one home to another.
“The child is only able to take food through a gastric tube. You lived alone with him and a very large number of animals.
“The police called at your home about a missing dog and came across a scene of absolute squalor.
“The house was filthy with rubbish, foodstuffs and animal faeces everywhere.
“I have seen the photographs and it is shocking that anyone can let a house get into that state.
“An experienced police officer described the conditions as the worst he had ever seen.”
Judith McCullough, defending, told the court her client, 21, had been suffering from depression.
She said: “The circumstances in which she found herself were escalating and worsening as time went on and of course, in addition also had a child who required more care than perhaps some other children may have done.
“She accepts that she failed to care for him in the way she ought to have done.
“She has shown genuine remorse and she picked herself up by the bootstraps and has made efforts to move forward.
“She is well aware she might receive a custodial sentence and has written a letter to her son to be read to him if it is the case.
“There will be no repeat of this behaviour. That does not mean she is not a young woman who clearly requires support and to examine what went wrong during the last part of last year.”
But Judge Russell told the defendant, who had pleaded guilty to a charge of child neglect at an earlier hearing: “Although it has been argued that there was a lack of support available to you, I do not accept that argument because you had previously had support and knew it was available.
“I do accept that you have had a difficult history. I also accept that you now acknowledge that your care was inadequate.
“Such mitigation cannot extinguish the fact that this was very serious neglect.”
Speaking after the hearing, a spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “Cases like this which involve the ill-treatment of young children are always very hard to deal with, but we welcome this sentence.
“This was a particularly appalling case of child neglect involving a vulnerable four-year-old boy who was living in truly shocking conditions.
“The house was in a completely uninhabitable state for anyone, let alone a small child, and thankfully he is now being looked after properly.”