A man from Lancashire – who was already banned from keeping horses – has been convicted of causing suffering to a large group of animals, including nine donkeys.

Magistrates found Graham Gott guilty of three offences under the Animal Welfare Act (2 November). He was also found to be in breach of an earlier disqualification from keeping horses, sheep and cattle in 2006.

The prosecution was brought by The Donkey Sanctuary, who rescued seven donkeys – including a foal – from his property in Slaidburn in heavy snow last December.

Two dead donkeys were also found on Gott’s land.

Molly Lloyd, a regional welfare officer for The Donkey Sanctuary, said it was one of the worst cases of neglect she had seen.

She said: “We were lucky to get there when we did. One of the surviving donkeys was carried onto the lorry as she was so weak.

“I am really pleased to see justice done for the donkeys who suffered so terribly.”

The charity’s veterinary surgeon for welfare cases, Anna Harrison, said the donkeys were in a terrible condition.

She said: “Some were emaciated, their skin was tightly bound over their bones. Their hooves were cruelly twisted and overgrown.

“There was no shelter, frozen water and no food. They were slowly starving to death in one of the most severe winters we have experienced in recent years,” she added.

The seven surviving donkeys were taken to the charity’s headquarters in Sidmouth, Devon. Two had to be put to sleep.

Gott escaped a prison sentence due to his poor health, but he was sentenced to a complete ban on keeping any animals for 10 years and ordered to pay £4,000 costs.