AN East Dorset pensioner has been fined £500 and banned from keeping animals, except horses and dogs, for seven years.

Gillian Hughes, 62, from East Borough, Wimborne, was found guilty of 13 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to her pets and failing to ensure that they were receiving adequate veterinary care.

Her friend Shereen Evans, 18, from Ashurst Road, West Moors, was convicted of the same offences and given a five-year ban, with the same conditions, and a two-year conditional discharge.

Bournemouth magistrates heard how Hughes and Evans had kept around 100 cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs and horses on a small holding at Forest View, Holt Heath, Mannington.

Seven cats were in a touring caravan which was sodden with urine and faeces, while others were suffering from bad skin conditions.

Poole and Purbeck RSPCA inspector Graham Hammond said: “It was a horrendous case and we were appalled at how these animals were being kept.

“All the cats in the caravan were deemed to be suffering; some were malnourished while others were in a bad condition.

“One cat was quite elderly; within eight weeks he had almost doubled in weight. All he needed was medication and care.

“One of the cats in the caravan had to be put down because of a medical issue which could have been sorted out.”

He appealed to people not to have excessive numbers of pets if they did not have enough space or money to look after them properly and to ask for help, at the earliest opportunity, if they were struggling to care for their pets.

It was Hughes’ second animal cruelty conviction.