AN evil vet has been banned from keeping animals for life after cos found dogs trapped in a “pitch black dungeon” at his practice.
Cruel Gary Samuel, 49, was also handed a suspended prison sentence along with his 28-year-old assistant Rochelle McEwan.
At the time the RSPCA discovered the desperate animals Samuel and McEwan were long term lovers and lived above the practice where the animals were left in squalor.
RSPCA inspector Nikki Cheetham described the scene at the surgery on Town Street in Armley when they were called after police attended the property over another matter.
She said: "I've seen a lot of shocking things working for the RSPCA, but I would certainly never have expected to deal with something like this.
"Dogs and cats were in a back room, the vet's living quarters and a basement, accessed by a trapdoor in the floor that had been hidden by a piece of carpet - that's where most of the dogs were found.
"They were in cages covered in faeces, with no access to food or water, in the pitch black. It was like a dungeon."
Most of the dogs were Husky-type pooches apart from two Chinese crested dogs.
While the adult dogs were locked in the basement the puppies had been shut up in one filthy room of the practice.
Most of the cats had been stuffed in another.
One poor moggie had to be put down immediately it was found, while a sick dog had to be put to sleep the next day.
Another three pooches had to be put down following examination by vets.
Sick Samuel, originally from Southall, West London, was convicted of six animal cruelty offences earlier this year.
He was sentenced to a 12-week sentence suspended for 12 months.
McEwan, of Leeds, received the same sentence and the pair were both ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 costs each.
Many of the animals - 15 dogs and six cats - have now been re-homed after being looked after at RSPCA centres in Leeds, County Durham, York, Liverpool, Chester and Harrogate.
"Of course, the adult dogs are taking some adjusting to the wonderful new homes they're now living in, but they have owners who are committed to them for the long haul," Ms Cheetham said.
"I've had the pleasure of seeing a couple of the animals recently, with their new owners, which was a lovely experience."