Two people who kept horses and ponies in squalid conditions have been banned from keeping equines for 10 years.

Lisa Wellings, 43, and retired blacksmith Alan Frank Williams, 65, both from North Wales, were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to animals at Caernarfon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (4 December).

The court heard that the pair had been keeping 11 horses and ponies in stables several inches deep with faeces and mud, without grazing, for at least three months when the RSPCA intervened in June last year.

An independent vet told the court conditions in the stables at the yard in Bethesda were some of the worst they had seen in 30 years.

Six of the animals were later diagnosed with equine motor neurone disease, a muscle wasting condition so rare that only 32 cases have been reported in Europe since 2004.

An RSPCA spokesman said it was more than likely the condition had been caused by the way the horses had been kept.

Some were also suffering from debilitating lameness caused by overgrown and curled up hooves, and all were infested with lice.

RSPCA inspector Mike Pugh said: “These horses were forced to live in absolutely disgusting conditions that no animal should ever be forced to endure.”

Despite the best efforts of vets, two of the horses subsequently died, but the others have been rehabilitated by the RSPCA.

Wellings denied the horses’ needs were not being met, although admitted she was responsible for them. Williams claimed in a statement he was simply assisting her with feeding the animals.

The pair were also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to another horse kept at Capel Curig, near Betws y Coed.

In addition to the 10-year ban, both Wellings and Williams were ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12 month community order and will each have to pay £750 court costs.