A ST IVES woman has been banned from keeping animals for eight years after RSPCA officers found dead and dying rabbits at her home in "heartbreaking" conditions.
They found 7 rabbits and 12 birds at the woman's home, some of which had died "a lingering and painful death" after being left without food and water.
Four rabbits and five birds were dead when officers went to Keri Tregenza's St Ives home.
Another rabbit rescued by officers later developed a malignant tumour and also died.
Tregenza, of Rocky Field Close, on the Mike Peters Estate in St Ives, was charged with three cases of animal neglect at Truro Magistrates' Court on Friday.
The 31-year-old was found guilty in her absence.
Photographs taken by RSPCA officers show one rabbit living on top of layers of its own droppings. Another shows a rabbit dead on a dirty floor and a third shows a dead rabbit almost hidden by layers of sawdust and droppings.
Tregenza was charged with three cases of animal neglect between February 1 and February 27 last year.
She was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the seven rabbits by failing to ensure they received adequate food and water and, separately, of failing to provide them with a suitable environment.
The third charge was of causing unnecessary suffering to 12 birds by failing to ensure they received adequate nutrition.
The court handed out a three-year conditional discharge and ordered Tregenza to be banned from keeping animals for eight years.
RPSCA officers were ordered to return to the address in one month to remove any animals still kept there. The court granted Tregenza a month to make arrangements for any animals.
The RSPCA said they were alerted to the animals' plight in February last year.
Inspectors found five dead birds in an aviary and four dead rabbits – two in hutches outside and two in a dark shed, all without food and water.
All were emaciated. There were also two emaciated chickens, the RSPCA said.
RSPCA inspector Mike Reid, who headed the case, said: "These animals were just left without food and water and some died a lingering and painful death.
"When you find animals suffering like that it is heartbreaking, but at least we managed to get there in time to save and rehome some of them.
"Advice had been offered to the defendant on previous occasions and I just wish that help had been sought before it was too late."