A DOG lover is to be reunited with her two terrier companions after a successful court appeal overturning a ban on her keeping animals.
It follows Barbara Cottee’s return to health after suffering a nervous breakdown last year which led to her neglecting the two Dandie Dinmont terriers when she was admitted to hospital.
Durham Crown Court heard RSPCA inspectors found the small dogs in a dishevelled condition at her untidy home, covered in dog dirt and urine, on August 2 last year.
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Louise Harrison, for the RSPCA, said among the debris at the fly-filled house were an estimated 50 empty vodka bottles.
It emerged Cottee was in hospital at the time and was unable to be interviewed until September 19, the day before she was discharged.
“She accepted living conditions were bad and described having had the breakdown, after losing both parents within a short time, leading to her drinking heavily and the house getting into such a state.”
Cottee, 70, of Brecon Road, Newton Hall, Durham, admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, and one of failing to ensure the needs of animals were met.
Magistrates imposed a deprivation order, relating to both dogs, and disqualified her from owning any animals, both for two years, at a hearing on December 11.
She was also ordered to pay £3,263 costs.
Appealing against the sentence, Alex Burns, for Cottee, handed documents to the court from her doctor, community psychiatric nurse, vet, plus friends and neighbours.
“This is a lady who turned 70 this week, of previous good character.
“She’s always looked after her dogs well, apart from the time she suffered her nervous breakdown.
“But, she’s since had the all clear and the house is back in a good, clean state.”
Upholding the appeal, Judge Robert Adams, sitting with two magistrates, agreed to lift both orders and replace them with two-year community sentences.