Dead kitten found in shoebox at woman's ‘horrendous’ flat with 17 animals inside

Meren Wainhouse, 26, of Greaves Street outside Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court <i>(Image: Telegraph & Argus)</i>
Meren Wainhouse, 26, of Greaves Street outside Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court (Image: Telegraph & Argus)

THE RSPCA found a dead kitten in a shoebox at a “horrendous” flat where 17 animals were found living inside.

Meren Wainhouse, 26, of Greaves Street, Little Horton, in Bradford, was in charge of those animals, which included 15 cats, a dog, and a rabbit.

She has already pleaded guilty to 20 animal cruelty charges.

This includes 17 counts of duty of a person responsible for an animal to ensure welfare and three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Wainhouse appeared at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court on Monday to be sentenced, but the case was sent to Bradford Crown Court due to its seriousness.

Megan King, for the prosecution, said officers were initially called to a public order incident in a Bradford street on August 23 last year and found Wainhouse and a male outside the address when they arrived.

Residents told officers they were concerned for the welfare of animals inside the small flat and claimed there were 15 cats, a rabbit, and a dog living there.

Wainhouse refused to let police into the property and the male brought a cat out to show the officers.

This gave them a glimpse inside the flat and an officer said there was “a large amount of faeces on the floor” and the “smell coming from inside the flat was foul”.

The court heard the cat also looked skinny and malnourished.

Police arrested Wainhouse so they could enter the property and went into the flat which was on the second floor, with one bedroom, a bathroom, and kitchen.

The entire floor was covered in either rubbish or faeces, the court heard.

The officer said it was the worst he had seen in six years with the force and there was “no obvious water down for the animals or food”.

He described the flat as “horrendous” and said it “was not suitable for animals or people”.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Meren Wainhouse, 26, of Greaves Street outside Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Meren Wainhouse, 26, of Greaves Street outside Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court

Meren Wainhouse, 26, of Greaves Street outside Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court (Image: Telegraph & Argus)

Ms King said: “It was clear she was not looking after the animals”.

The RSPCA became involved and found a rabbit living on top of a bag of rubbish.

There was a cat with four kittens that were around six weeks old, as well as four other cats, and a dog in the living room.

A further three cats were discovered when a mattress in the flat was flipped over.

Ms King said: “A kitten was found deceased in a shoebox.”

In total, 15 cats, a dog, and a rabbit were seized from the address by the RSPCA.

The court heard a vet examined the animals and the dog had a number of issues, including fleas, while the cats were all malnourished and the kittens underweight.

The rabbit was blind with “bulging eyes” and had to be put down.

Amjid Khan, defending Wainhouse, said she was living on her own at the time and was subjected to domestic violence, which led to her mental health deteriorating.

He told the court that Wainhouse’s partner was sentenced to five years in prison for offences against her.

Wainhouse had pets for six years and treated them well, the court heard.

Mr Khan said: “She accepts when she got very bad in her mental health that declined, deteriorated, and she did not know how to cope, nowhere else to turn to for help.

“In a way it was a blessing in disguise police did come that day.”

He added: “What makes matters worse, the people who alerted police that day posted videos on social media and she has been harassed and bullied.”

The court heard Wainhouse is now living in her new address, which is supported accommodation.

Mr Khan said: “Sadly, she has suffered a miscarriage earlier this year, at 18 weeks pregnant.

“She has a partner outside on the concourse, a new partner, and he's very supportive of her – they don’t live together.

“Things are very much looking a lot better for her compared to when this happened.”

Wainhouse has no previous convictions, the court heard.

The magistrates said this was a “complex matter”.

They added: “This is not suitable for summary justice so it needs to be committed to the crown court.”

Wainhouse was given unconditional bail to appear at Bradford Crown Court on June 10.