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A woman has had her two cats taken away after they were found infested with fleas and so thin their bones were showing.

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Jade O’Hagan, 50, of Kelvin Road, Highbury, lost her pets Tuesday and Bear and is banned from keeping animals for two years after being found guilty of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on Friday.

Both felines were “crawling with fleas” to such an extent the RSPCA officer was bitten 25 times while conducting the interview.

The court heard how the officer went to O’Hagan’s house after a tip-off from a neighbour about the state of the animals.

The was no sign of the defendant, but when the officer returned the following day he found Tuesday, a 16-year-old female tabby, lying on the pavement outside O’Hagan’s house – infested with fleas and very thin.

They took the cat to a boarding establishment, then picked up Bear, a 14-year-old male black cat, who a vet found to be extremely underweight, with his spine, ribs and pelvis noticeable.

In a later interview it transpired that neither cat had been to the vets since being neutered when they were two, the prosecutor for the RSPCA told the court.

In O’Hagan’s defence, her solicitor said there was no question of cruelty and she had tried to deal with the fleas without success, but a lack of money had prevented her from taking the cats to the vet.

The court issued a deprivation order, meaning Tuesday and Bear will be handed over to the RSPCA, banned O’Hagan from keeping any pets for two years and put her under a 12 month community order.

The RSPCA had asked the court to award almost £6,000 in damages to the charity to cover the cost of veterinary treatment and boarding – but this was denied. She was however ordered to pay the court £500. A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “There is no excuse for cat owners to neglect their animals by not getting veterinary treatment. Pets rely on us for their every need and we have to provide that.”

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