A WOMAN has been banned from keeping animals for 15 years after six cats in her care were found living in "appalling" conditions.

The cats were found in a shed outside Jane Latheron's house in Leigh Road, Atherton.

Every surface was covered in an inch-thick layer of the cats’ excrement.

The floor was alive with maggots and dead flies covered the windowsills and the perch where the animals sat, Tony Stock, prosecuting, told Wigan Magistrates Court.

He added: "The cats were found to have faecal matter matted into their hair, and all had high temperatures and chronic ear infections.

"The vet who examined the cats said that he had not seen a single animal suffering from so many infections at the same time in all his 30 years as a vet.

"These cats were forced to live, sleep and walk in their own excrement, meaning there was an element of mental suffering."

Mrs Latheron pleaded guilty on February 21 to causing unnecessary suffering to six cats by failing to house them in an appropriate environment and failing to meet their needs by failing to protect them from pain, suffering, injury and disease between July 17 and October 17 last year.

Bob Toppin, defending, said: "She has a bad hip and swollen ankles and her mobility problems contributed to what happened and she is bitterly upset and ashamed about it."

Mrs Latheron was also given a curfew from 8pm until 7am for 16 weeks, ordered to pay costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £60. She will not be able to appeal the ban on keeping all animals for 10 years.

RSPCA inspector Vicki MacDonald, who attended the scene, said: "I am particularly pleased with the ban which will prevent the situation happening again and it goes to show keeping animals like this will not be tolerated.

“I hope never to see animals kept in such appalling conditions again.”