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Five year ban for woman who kept 34 cats and two dogs in “squalor”
A WOMAN has been banned from keeping cats and dogs for five years after inspectors found them kept in “disgusting” conditions in her Bournemouth flat.
Bournemouth Magistrates Court heard yesterday that Julie Anne Cummings, 41, of Duck Lane, caused unnecessary suffering to 34 cats and two dogs.
She admitted three charges brought by the RSPCA after they visited her flat.
They included causing unnecessary suffering to the animals and not seeking vet treatment.
Matthew Knight, prosecuting, told the court that her home was first visited by RSPCA Inspector Graham Hammond last December, who found the animals living in “squalor” and the flat in a “disgusting” state.
Further visits found little improvement and, in May, as many as 10 cats were found “squashed” into cat carriers.
Mr Knight said there was urine and faeces on the floor, while many of the cats had fleas, thinning hair and skin irritations.
One cat was found dead in the freezer – Mr Knight said Cummings said she could not afford to have it cremated. A postmortem found that it had a severe urinary tract infection.
Cummings was interviewed and admitted the situation, saying that she had tried to self-treat some and had taken some to the vet.
Mr Knight said: “This defendant clearly couldn’t cope, or notice all of the problems.”
He said that she had help from the council’s housing officer, the RSPCA, Cats’ Protection League and PDSA and added: “Their needs were not met and some suffered severely.”
Mark Hennersley, defending, said Cummings was a person of “limited capacity” and had to be interviewed with an appropriate adult present.
She was also of “limited intellect” and “limited income” and had previously taken some animals to the PDSA and vet but often could not pay.
“She accepts that there were too many, but they kept on breeding – or other people in the area gave them to her – and she looked after them because she thought that was the right thing to do.
“She has not deliberately harmed these animals. It’s due to her lack of capacity that these animals have fallen ill. There is genuine remorse for the fact this situation has got on top of her,” he said.
Magistrates gave Cummings a two-year conditional discharge and disqualified her from keeping cats and dogs for five years.
She was ordered to pay £100 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
RSPCA ‘offered to help’
AFTER the case RSPCA Inspector Graham Hammond, pictured, said: “Help and advice had been offered to this defendant previously and sadly animals still were left to suffer through a simple lack of care.
“We hope that the disqualification will mean that animals are prevented from suffering more in future.”
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