A WOMAN who left her animals to suffer in squalid conditions with untreated health conditions has been banned from keeping animals for five years.

Heather Stanton, 60, of Williton Road, Washford, appeared before North Somerset Magistrates Court on Wednesday in a prosecution case brought by the RSPCA.

Stanton, who was found guilty of 12 offences and pleaded guilty to a further two offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, was banned from keeping dogs, cats, birds, and tortoises for five years.

RSPCA inspector Jo Daniel, who investigated for the charity, said: "This was an upsetting case of extreme neglect for which there can be no excuse.

"Stanton had more animals than she could cope with and was unable to care for them adequately. As a result sadly many of the animals were suffering.

"All owners are responsible for meeting the needs of the animals in their care and we now look forward to finding these animals the loving homes they deserve."

The case came to light after Stanton presented two of her dogs for veterinary examination. The dogs gave veterinary surgeons concern for the welfare of those dogs and other animals at her property.

A visit was made to her home where twelve dogs, a cat, six birds and a tortoise were housed in inappropriate conditions. Many of the animals were also found to have chronic health conditions that had been left untreated.

Following a veterinary examination, police seized the animals and placed them in the care of the RSPCA.

As well as the five-year disqualification, Stanton was ordered to carry out 80 hours unpaid work as part of a community service sentence. She must also pay £5,000 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

She was also deprived of ownership of her animals, who can now be rehomed by the RSPCA.