A KEIGHLEY man who kept a host of horses, pigs and rabbits in "filthy" conditions has been handed a lifetime ban from owning or dealing in animals.

Nigel Hudson, 48, of Harewood Road, Oakworth, was sentenced at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court yesterday, having pleaded guilty to 15 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal at an earlier hearing last month.

The RSPCA, who removed 27 animals from Hudson's land in November last year, welcomed the lifetime ban, saying it "reflected the seriousness of the case."

Nigel Monaghan, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said the charges related to inspections made in October and November last year on land rented by Hudson at Church View Farm in Laycock Lane, where a horse and piglet were found dead.

Other "emaciated" horses were found with lice and thrush infections, pigs left lame and underweight, and animals left without a supply of drinking water.

The court heard that Hudson had received an initial warning notice from RSPCA officers in November 2012, with repeated warnings given at regular intervals up until September 2013.

Describing Hudson's "wholly irresponsible" behaviour, Mr Monaghan said: "You failed to meet the basic needs of animals that any lay person should be able to recognise, and left a large number of animals suffering for a long period of time."

All the animals have since been re-homed, aside from one pig which had to be put down, at a cost of more than £18,300 to the RSPCA in veterinary and boarding costs.

Representing himself, Hudson told the court he had tried to take the advice of the RSPCA, but had taken on "far too much."

"I didn't intend to make any animal suffer, but I got trapped in a vicious circle I couldn't get out of," he added.

Alongside his lifetime ban, Hudson was given a 12-month medium level community order, with a 30 day activity requirement, and ordered to pay £200 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Inspector Charlotte Booker, of the RSPCA, said Hudson had ignored numerous warnings from officers during several visits to his land.

"This was a very serious case of neglect concerning a large number of animals," she added. "All have now been successfully rehomed and have made a fantastic recovery.

"The RSPCA had attended countless times and offered advice and notices, yet changes were not made.

"The lifetime ban reflects the seriousness of the case, and we would hope that it is imposed to prevent animals suffering in the future."