Animal welfare charities have reacted angrily to a “disappointingly lenient” sentence handed out to a Lanarkshire woman who admitted the gross neglect of 19 animals – including five ponies and donkeys – in her care.

Kathryn Brady was given a three-year ban preventing her from keeping equines and ordered to carry out 170 hours community service for causing suffering that was described by The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) as “horrendous”.

The SPCA was alerted to the ill health of animals and, on investigating, found one donkey to be in such distress that it had to be put down on site.

The charity’s chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “One young female donkey had collapsed. Her head collar was so tight that it was cutting into the flesh behind her ears and nose, and there were maggots feeding off the dead tissue. Sadly her suffering was so severe that she was put to sleep immediately.

“We are extremely disappointed with the sentence imposed and believe a life ban on keeping animals would have been entirely appropriate in this case.”

Following their seizure, the four surviving donkeys were handed over to The Donkey Sanctuary.

The charity’s head of welfare, Michael Crane said: “We are disappointed with what appears to be a very light sentence given the suffering that the animals in Ms Brady’s care endured.

“Luckily for these donkeys, their rescue came just in time and we were not too late to help them. Over time we have encouraged them to start eating again, and day by day their confidence and trust in humans is beginning to return. All four are guaranteed a sanctuary for life.”