By Dan Santy
A WOMAN who kept a staggering 69 animals in appalling conditions at her modest three-bedroom house in Bilton has been banned from keeping pets for life.
Carole Cartledge was slapped with the ban after a court heard how she kept nine cats, three dogs and some 57 rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and birds in filthy, cramped and disease ridden conditions at her home in Cherry Grove.
Magistrates in Nuneaton were told how police and RSPCA officers spent a 'long and difficult' day clearing Cartledge's home once the extent of her animal hoarding was discovered.
The 65-year-old pleaded guilty to ten charges of neglect which included failing to provide food and water, a hygienic environment and veterinary care for her animals.
Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Nicholas Sutton, said: "She showed a systematic disregard for the animals in her care and the appalling conditions she kept them in.
"You simply cannot keep this number of animals in this type of environment. It's outrageous and the animals suffer as a result."
Mr Sutton told the court the RSPCA believed Cartledge hoarded animals for no apparent reason other than a mistaken belief she was caring for them by taking them in.
The situation only came to light in June when a woman was invited round to Cartledge's home to buy some of her chinchillas.
The woman later told the authorities how she entered to be met with an overpowering smell. Once inside she saw cats being kept in cramped rooms behind locked doors, two obese dogs and cages stacked on top of each other containing a large number of chinchillas and birds.
She also claims to have found three dead kittens in a bin outside the house, although this matter was not pursued by the court.
Once alerted, the police and RSPCA went to Cartledge's home and seized nearly all of the animals, only leaving behind her dogs and some of the cats.
Vets who examined the animals found they were distressed, malnourished, dehydrated and suffering with diseases and dental problems..." More