Inspector finds 40 animals in pensioner’s Bilton home

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A GRANDMOTHER has been banned from owning animals after magistrates heard she kept dozens of pets in “appalling conditions” on Tuesday.

Carole Elizabeth Cartledge, of Cherry Grove, Bilton, admitted ten offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The offences all occurred at Cartledge’s home between March and June last year and involved two guinea pigs, five rabbits, 22 chinchillas, nine cats and two quail. Seven charges related to her failing to ensure the animals’ dietary, toiletry and other needs were met and three concerned causing unnecessary suffering by failing to get them veterinary care.

The RSPCA was alerted after she tried to sell her chinchillas and a prospective buyer visited her home and contacted the charity.

Nick Sutton, prosecuting for the RSPCA, described to magistrates the conditions the animals were found in.

Nine guinea pigs had lice, their hair was matted and they were in a filthy cage. The chinchillas had sore hocks, swollen bellies and diarrhoea. A budgie and cockatiel were also in “dirty” conditions. Cats variously had mites, ear disease, periodontal disease, cat flu and nasal discharge.

Simon Marlow-Ridley, mitigating for Cartledge, said the case brought her to court for the first time and she found the experience “terrifying”. He blamed financial difficulties for her not being able to get the animals to a vet for treatment.

“What happened does not come out of cruelty but her nature to look after things,” he said.

Mr Marlow-Ridley conceded that his client “got herself into a terrible mess”. He added that she was appalled at a suggestion that some of the animals should be killed.

Cartledge was given an 18-month community order, 120 hours of unpaid work and was told to pay £500 towards the RSPCA’s costs of £8,165.49.