Cornwall

Lifetime animal ban for Looe couple with 73 cats

Cats in house. Pic: RSPCA Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The court heard that the cats were living in terrible conditions

A couple who kept 73 cats in "terrible conditions" has been banned from keeping animals for life.

Penelope O'Dell, 71, and David O'Dell, 70, gave the pets "completely incompetent care", magistrates heard.

They both admitted three charges, including causing unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure the animals' needs were met.

However, RSPCA prosecutor Lindi Meyer said the couple had been well-intentioned.

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'Sincerely sorry'

The house in Looe, Cornwall, had a powerful smell of ammonia and inspectors found 10 overflowing litter trays, Bodmin Magistrates' Court heard.

In a statement, Mr O'Dell said he was truly sorry for the cats' suffering. He said he had been dealing with the loss of his father and had complaints of his own.

Mrs O'Dell said she was heartbroken and devastated, adding that she loved the cats and was "sincerely sorry".

The estranged pair, from Pendrim Road, were both sentenced to 12 weeks in jail, suspended for 18 months, and given a lifetime ban from owning, keeping or looking after any pets.

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The cats were in a house with a powerful smell of ammonia and overflowing litter trays
Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The RSPCA said the cats were living in a "shocking environment"

Insp Claire Ryder, from the RSPCA, said it was "shocking environment" and the "smell was absolutely overpowering".

She said: "There were some [cats] with eye conditions and ear problems, and, unfortunately, some did have to be put to sleep under vet's advice because of their welfare.

"They were just all suffering and it was just not right."

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