Leeds vet Gary Samuel launches appeal against conviction after dogs and cats found in squalid conditions at Armley Vets

A Leeds vet who was given a suspended prison sentence after police discovered 30 dogs and cats living in filthy conditions at his surgery has launched an appeal against his conviction.

Gary Samuel was convicted in 2016 after animals were found in squalid conditions at Armley Vets.

The case of Gary Samuel and his former assistant and girlfriend Rochelle McEwan 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.

A judge and two magistrates, who are hearing their appeals at Bradford Crown Court, heard yesterday 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.

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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.

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

Mr Taylor yesterday said Samuel, of Weston Road, Enfield, accepted that the conditions at the surgery were "disgraceful" but 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.

"What sort of vet has 12 animals penned up in his cellar and doesn't even go and have a look to see what's going on?" asked Mr Taylor.

"It's almost unbelievable but it's his case he never went to see them."

Mr Taylor suggested that the plight of the animals appeared have taken second place to the couple's relationship and he described Samuel's actions were "woefully inadequate".

Barrister Douglas Lloyd, for McEwan, said she maintained that she was feeding and caring for the animals as best she could.

Samuel's barrister Michael Sprack said his client was not responsible for the conditions at the surgery.

The hearing, which is expected to include expert evidence for both sides, could last up to five days.