A smallholder has admitted ill treating more than 200 dogs after RSPCA inspectors found them living in appalling conditions at ramshackle kennels in Devon.

The injured collie
The injured collie (Devon and Cornwall Police)

Diana Curtis kept dogs at two different locations which were found to be underfed, emaciated, wet and cold when they were raided by the RSPCA and local authority inspectors.

 A bearded collie was in obvious pain from a dislocated shoulder, a black and tan terrier had an injured mouth, a collie had a skin condition and a sheepdog had an ulcerated eye. None had received the veterinary treatment they needed.

Curtis, aged 66, has a long history of ill treating dogs and has previously been found with 100 dogs in poor conditions and made subject of a Criminal Behaviour Order restricting her to only eight animals.

Curtis, of Berry’s Cross, Peters Marland, near Hatherleigh, pleaded guilty to seven counts of causing unnecessary suffering to animals at her home and another set of kennels at Chulmleigh Cross, near Chittlehamholt.

The ramshackle kennels
The ramshackle kennels (Devon and Cornwall Police)

 All the offences were committed in February and March last year. A roll-up charge included 191 dogs at Chittlehamholt. 

The others involved six nursing bitches which were kept without adequate nutrition and confined in an unsuitable environment and five cases of failing to provide veterinary care for eight other dogs.

They were a bearded collie with a dislocated shoulder; a collie with an ulcerated eye; a tan and white female terrier which had a diseased mouth and neurological conditions and a male collie and four other dogs with skin conditions or wounds.

Judge Stephen Climie adjourned sentence at Exeter Crown Court until June 4 and released Curtis on bail. He told her the cases pass the custody threshold but ordered a probation report which will suggest alternative punishments.

Curtis is already banned from keeping animals after being convicted of ill-treating horses, chickens and ducks by Exeter Magistrates Court in December. She was jailed for 16 weeks, suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £10,000 costs.