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Cardiff woman given lifetime disqualification after breaching ban

A court has ordered that a Cardiff woman must never keep animals again after she breached a ten-year ban for keeping guinea pigs amid piled-up filth in a ‘squalid’ bedroom.

Barbara Herbert, of Beverley Close in the Llanishen/Lisvane area of the city, initially came to the attention of the RSPCA after guinea pigs were found to be kept in entirely inappropriate conditions in the upstairs bedroom, amid a foot-and-a-half of piled-up straw and debris, which took a whole day to dig out.

RSPCA officers required respiratory equipment when entering the bedroom due to the extent of the conditions.

Ms Herbert had initially – in July 2018 – been deprived of the 29 animals and banned from keeping all animals for a decade.

However – despite the court’s instruction – she later acquired two further guinea pigs – named Edward and William – who were kept in a small cage in a conservatory-type building. Conditions again were wholly unacceptable – and RSPCA officers found the hutch to be fly-ridden and unclean.

71-year-old Herbert admitted two Animal Welfare Act offences at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (12 November); one concerning the environment in which Edward and William were kept, and another concerning her failure to comply with the decade-long disqualification order previously handed down.

Her ban was extended from ten years to a lifetime disqualification from keeping animals, while she was also given a 12-month community order with a ten-day rehabilitation activity requirement. She was also ordered to pay a £80 fine, £805.22 in costs and a £90 victim surcharge.

Fortunately, both guinea pigs had been signed into the care of the RSPCA and have been successfully rehomed via the charity’s Newport-based animal centre. This follows numerous guinea pigs rescued and rehomed from the previous incident in 2018.

RSPCA inspector Gemma Black said: “It beggars belief that somebody would breach their ban on keeping animals; only to once again subject the animals involved to more inappropriate conditions.

“Edward and William were found in a small, dirty cage; just a short distance from the bedroom where some 29 were found in squalor last year.

“Thankfully, these guinea pigs came into our care and have been successfully rehomed – which means another happy ending for these defenceless pets.

“Owning an animal is a privilege, and people have very clear legal responsibilities towards their animals. Sadly, this individual has abused this right twice – and now will not be allowed to keep pets again.”