A WOMAN has been arrested after scores of dead animals were reportedly found at her flat in Boscombe.

Police were called to the housing association property in Trafalgar House, Hamilton Road by RSPCA officials on the night of Thursday, November 16.

Neighbours say inspectors for the charity later told them the 'dead animals' - including dogs and rabbits - had been in cages stacked "from the floor to the ceiling."

Officials were inside the property for two days removing the animals. It is reported that some taken out of the small property alive later had to be destroyed.

A man living near the flat, who asked not to be named, said: "I'd heard 45 animals are dead.

"The RSPCA have been coming and going to that flat for a while now."

He said among the police who visited the block in mid-November were scenes of crime officers.

"They just kept bringing these dead animals out," he said.

"There were dogs, rabbits in cages - all sorts of things.

"I could see the police bagging them all up to take them away.

"There were apparently cages of animals stacked from the floor to the ceiling.

"One of the people with the RSPCA told me it was the worst thing he'd ever had to deal with in his job."

During the Daily Echo's visit to the block, there was a strong smell in a downstairs hallway. The RSPCA had taped a sign to the door urging the occupant to get in touch.

A neighbour who lives inside the same block and also asked to stay anonymous, said the woman had at one time owned nine dogs - two of which were bull mastiffs - as well as ducks, geese, guinea pigs and rabbits.

"There was always dog mess in the garden so the children living here could not go outside," she said.

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: "Police were called at 10.24pm on Thursday, November 16 by the RSPCA following reports of animal cruelty at an address in Hamilton Road.

"A joint investigation between Dorset Police and the RSPCA into the circumstances is underway.

"A 27-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of causing unnecessary cruelty to a protected animal and has been released under investigation pending further enquiries."

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “Unfortunately we are unable to discuss complaints about specific individuals.

"We understand how frustrating that is for animals lovers but releasing information could prejudice an investigation, or could lead to us being fined.

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who reports suspected animal suffering to us and we would like to reassure people we will always look into any concerns voiced to us about animal welfare.”

A spokesperson for the Sovereign Housing Association, which owns the property, said an officer working for Sovereign made the initial call to the RSPCA, which prompted police action.

"We are working with the police, the council and social services before taking the next step," he said.

"We need the right solution, for the tenant as well as for neighbours and others connected."