The first Hamilton lifetime ban on owning animals has been handed down to a man and woman who lived in the east end. 

A man and a woman were convicted of eight counts of animal cruelty, stemming from an incident in 2010 when animal protection officers searched a home at 79 Woodman Drive, in the Nash Road area.

Officers removed six animals from the home.

The Hamilton SPCA described the animals as "infested with fleas," and the home as being in "deplorable condition with animal excrement, garbage and other debris throughout."

Animal protection officers also found a ferret skeleton, along with several deceased snakes, gerbils, rats and mice during the raid, officials said in a statement released Monday.

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The house was full of garbage, the HBSPCA says. (Courtesy Hamilton Burlington SPCA)

"It was horrific," protection officer Vivian Laflamme told CBC Hamilton.

"The smell … the conditions were deplorable."

While charges were pending against the two people, the following month the HBSPCA received more complaints about neglected animals living there. In October 2010, HBSPCA officers carried out a second search and removed 28 animals including gerbils, mice, rats, six cats and two dogs.

One of the dogs was put down. It was found on a floor, covered in urine and unable to move, Laflamme said.

The man and the woman are now banned from owning any pets, and are required to give up any animals in their possession to the closest SPCA shelter. They also have to allow the SPCA to inspect their home at any time.

Laflamme said the pair were able to take in more animals after the first raid by using websites and classified ads.

The man and the woman charged in the case failed to show up in court on several occasions, so the case was remanded for a year and a half.

"I wanted them to be there," Laflamme said. "They have rights too."

The two now live in Smiths Falls, Laflamme said. Efforts by CBC Hamilton to locate them were unsuccessful.

"We are proud these individuals are no longer permitted to own animals but we mourn for the animals involved in this sad case," Laflamme said.

"Unfortunately cases like this do exist in our community and citizens must contact the HBSPCA should they suspect something similar in their neighbourhood."