SSRI Ed note: Man takes antidepressants following marriage breakdown, neglects his cats and dogs, animal welfare has to step in. He is banned from owning pets for 10 years.

Original article no longer available

The Nottingham Post

11:00 – 04 July 2007

A Man who once exhibited his dogs at pet shows has been handed a suspended jail sentence and banned from keeping animals for ten years.

Shaun Mignano, 33, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to animals after keeping four dogs caged in a bedroom.

RSPCA inspectors Laura Kirkham and Gary Eastwood described the stench at the property in Longford Crescent, Bulwell, as “revolting and overpowering”.

In the back garden, which was covered in animal faeces, the inspectors found two cats in a run with no food and stagnant water.

Mignano had become depressed after getting divorced last year, Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard.

Jon Hullis, defending, described it as a “very sad case in virtually every single respect”.

He said: “He takes full responsibility for the state these animals are in. He has expressed a great deal of remorse.”

The court heard Mignano had previously taken a great pride in his animals and was “involved in the showing of his dogs”.

“Because he started from that position it is even more tragic,” said Mr Hullis.

“It is clear that Mr Mignano, his normal self, would never have allowed the situation to get where it was. Something happened to allow these animals to get into that state.”

Mignano’s divorce last year came after six years of marriage.

“That had hit Mr Mignano very hard,” Mr Hullis told the court. “He spiralled down into depression.”

Mignano lost his job and driving licence after a drink-driving incident.

And medication for depression left him “in a twilight zone”.

“Effectively his whole life has fallen apart around him,” said Mr Hullis.

“He simply did not know what he was doing. He was clearly a very good dog owner before. Animals were his life. He had not appreciated how bad it had got.”

Mignano was given a 90-day jail sentence suspended for 12 months.

He was ordered to work 150 hours unpaid work and to pay £600 in costs and vets fees.

Magistrates chairman Richard Cumberland said: “On a previous occasion we took the view that custody must be considered.”

The court was told that all six animals were now fit and well and had been found new homes.