A MAN has been banned from keeping animals of any kind for the rest of his life.

Keith Lewis, 70, must now find new homes for dozens of mostly farm animals at his small holding near Tadcaster.

York magistrates told him "You should not be near any animal" after hearing about the suffering of his collie Meg.

It was the third time the RSPCA had prosecuted him over the way he cares for animals, and his third animal ban.

Lewis, of Barlby, was given a 24-week prison sentence which the magistrates said they were only suspending because of his age and medical condition.

His hand shook continually during the hearing and he walks slowly with a stick.

Lewis pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Meg by failure to have a ligature wound on her neck treated and failure to care for her properly.

He is now banned indefinitely from owning or having any part in the care of any animal of any species.

Lewis was first prosecuted in 2016 when York magistrates heard how he kept 60 animals living in filthy, squalid and cramped conditions in former agricultural buildings in Barlby.

On that occasion he admitted neglect offences in relations to about 30 of the animals, mostly poultry and rabbits, and was banned from keeping caged animals for 10 years and ordered to do a 12-week curfew.

Three months after he appeared in court, police and an RSPCA inspector found two ferrets at his house in what the RSPCA's prosecuting solicitor Phil Brown called "frankly appalling" conditions. They had no water, they were kept with piles of faeces and dirty bedding and three rotting rabbit carcases.

Lewis was again taken to court and this time admitted breaching the 10-year animal ban, and failure to care for animals.

He received a second 10-year animal ban, preventing him having animals kept in cages.

But on December last year, the RSPCA found Meg with the untreated wound round her neck.

At each of his three hearings, he claimed through his solicitors that the animals belonged to his son, claims that are not accepted by the RSPCA.

York magistrates decided Lewis' current animals must be rehoused at homes approved by the RSPCA.