Woman who kept dead snakes in freezer avoids jail

A pensioner who kept almost 200 snakes in her semi-detached house in York has been banned from keeping reptiles for a year following a prosecution which has cost the RSPCA more than £150,000.

Woman who kept dead snakes in freezer avoids jail

A pensioner who kept almost 200 snakes in her semi-detached house in York has been banned from keeping reptiles for a year following a prosecution which has cost the RSPCA more than £150,000.

The conditions in which some of the snakes were kept

Pauline Wallace, 64, admitted keeping the animals in poor conditions at her home, including 114 in her bedroom.

At York Magistrates' Court, Wallace was given a 12-month community order with supervision as well as the reptile-keeping ban.

She had pleaded guilty to nine counts of animal cruelty at a previous hearing.

Phil Browne, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told the bench the charity has incurred costs of £156,000 since they discovered Wallace's huge colony of at least 186 snakes.

But chairman of the bench Erica Taylor ordered Wallace to pay just £250 costs and a further £60 surcharge.

Mr Browne told the magistrates: "Around 20 dead snakes had been frozen.

"Mrs Wallace indicated these were her favourites and couldn't bear to part with them."

Pauline Wallace has avoided jail

The prosecutor said the live snakes were in various states and some were infested with mites and living in their own waste.

He said Wallace's border collie Alfie was also in a bad state.

David Ward, defending, said his client started off with one snake and came to love the reptiles when she noticed how it would only go to sleep after she had gone to bed.

Mr Ward said she began to take in more and more until she had developed a "snake hostel".

He said: "This is an elderly lady who, for a time, had too many snakes."

Woman with dead snakes in her freezer pleads guilty to animal cruelty

A woman who kept 140 snakes in her home and had another 20 dead ones - and a dead cat in her freezer - has pleaded guilty to a string of animal cruelty and welfare charges.

RSPCA inspectors say their investigation in York into Pauline Wallace's bizarre collection uncovered one of the most shocking cases they've ever found.

But today she left court questioning the animal welfare charity's actions. You may find some of the details in Jon Hill's report upsetting.

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RSPCA say 'snake house' one of the "most shocking" cases ever seen

The conditions in which some of the 140 snakes were kept Credit: ITV Yorkshire

A woman who kept 140 snakes in her home and had another 20 dead ones - and a dead cat in her freezer - has pleaded guilty to a string of animal cruelty and welfare charges.

RSPCA inspectors say their investigation into Pauline Wallace's bizarre collection uncovered one of the most shocking cases they have ever found.

York woman also had dead cat in freezer

As well as the snakes, they found a dead cat in a fridge-freezer.

Wallace told the RSPCA she had "around 140 snakes" including boas, pythons and corn snakes.

At York Magistrates Court she pleaded guilty to two cruelty charges after she caused unnecessary suffering to her border collie Alf by failing to provide him with adequate veterinary care when he fell ill.

She also admitted seven offences of failing to ensure the welfare of snakes and reptiles. A further 10 animal cruelty charges initially brought by the RSPCA were dropped and dismissed by magistrates.

Woman with 140 snakes pleads guilty to animal cruelty

The RSPCA found 140 snakes in Pauline Wallace's house Credit: ITV Yorkshire

A woman who kept 140 snakes in her home and had another 20 dead in a freezer has pleaded guilty to a string of animal cruelty and welfare charges.

Pauline Wallace, 64, from Osbaldwick Lane, York, stored her collection of reptiles in old sweet tubs, plastic bins and vivariums stacked floor to ceiling in her semi-detached house.

RSPCA inspectors discovered the colony when they went to check up after a tip-off.