#TheList serial cat hoarder and abuser Anne Louise Rushton, born c. 1966, last known address Stockton Road, Park Lane, Sunderland – continually breaching ban on keeping animals
Rushton pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching a 10-year ban on keeping animals and two welfare charges after police found an army of cats roaming in disgusting conditions at her home in South Shields.
Caked in faeces, the rubbish-filled home was “virtually unfit for human habitation”.
Photos produced in court showed stained clothes, unmade beds and rubbish strewn across the property.
Wallpaper was peeling from the living room wall, amid a sea of empty takeaway cartons and food tins.
Rushton’s sofa was stained brown while the dirt – including cat droppings – was long trodden into the floor.
One police officer said the conditions were the worst he’d seen in his career.
No litter trays were provided for the cats at the property. A dead kitten, which Rushton said had died from flea infestation, was found in a bin.
The court heard that Rushton stashed her cats in zipped-up bags when taking them to arcades in 20C heat – where she was spotted with them playing on slots.
In mitigation, it was claimed Rushton had got the cats from a friend who had died and hadn’t deliberately set out to harm them.
Since the death, she had been “really struggling” with her mental health and booze, while her solicitor pointed out: “She was so unwell she was living in those conditions too.”
Sentencing: £505 costs. Banned from keeping animals until 2028 but can appeal in 2023.
June 2019 update: a warrant is out for Rushton’s arrest as she was found to have breached her ban on keeping animals for a second time.
This time her son Ardal Rushton-Hall was also charged and convicted with aiding and abetting his mother as several of her cats were found at his property – again in appalling conditions.