Category Archives: rabbits

Wallasey, Merseyside: Jodie Wardil

#TheList Jodie Wardil, born c. 1991, of Sherlock Lane, Wallasey, Wirral CH44 – abandoned pet dog in an empty property; left a rabbit to starve to death in her hutch

Convicted animal abuser Jodie Wardil of Wallasey, Merseyside.
Wardil is the mother of four young boys. She has now been banned from keeping animals for life after abandoning a dog and leaving a rabbit to starve to death

Single mother-of-four Jodie Wardil left rabbit Annie to starve to death before callously dumping her emaciated body in a wheelie bin.

It was only thanks to eagle-eyed neighbours that the case of appalling neglect came to light, along with that of a Staffordshire bull terrier named Buster.

Wardil pleaded guilty at Wirral magistrates’ court to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, and a further charge of failing to ensure animal welfare.

Chris Murphy, prosecuting, said the RSPCA were first alerted by a worried neighbour who reported a dog had been left alone in a house.

The neighbour said he had been feeding the dog by pushing food through the letterbox for several days.

Convicted animal abuser Jodie Wardil of Wallasey, Merseyside.
Staffy Buster was riddled with fleas and had not been treated for a painful skin condition.

When the RSPCA inspector arrived and looked through the letterbox, he could see the dog had a severe skin infection.

The inspector later received a call from Wardil, during which she agreed to sign Buster over to the RSPCA.

When the inspector returned to collect Buster, a neighbour approached him to tell him the defendant had dumped a dead rabbit into a wheelie bin.

Initially Wardil claimed Annie the rabbit had been collected by her ex-partner.

The remains of rabbit Annie were discovered in a wheelie bin
Jodie Wardil had callously dumped the body of the rabbit she left to starve to death in a wheelie bin

The inspector recovered the emaciated rabbit from a black bin bag in the wheelie bin.

Wardil said both animals had been neglected because she had not been living at the property and her “mind was elsewhere”.

On examination, Buster was found to have inflamed skin and to be “alive with fleas.” Following treatment, he made a full recovery and has since been re-homed.

The remains of rabbit Annie were discovered in a wheelie bin
The remains of rabbit Annie were discovered in a wheelie bin

The rabbit was found to be totally emaciated as a result of chronic starvation, lasting several weeks, with every part of the skeleton visible, and an untreated eye condition which had attracted maggots.

Chairman of the bench, Peter Sanders, told Wardil: “Animals rely for their well-being on human beings. The only thing that takes away from a custodial sentence is your mental state.”

Convicted animal abuser Jodie Wardil of Wallasey, Merseyside.
Jodie Wardil of Wallasey, Merseyside is disqualified for life from keeping animals

Speaking after the case, RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes said: “This was a serious case of prolonged neglect which had devastating effects for poor Annie the rabbit.

“Annie, who was already suffering with an untreated eye condition, was then left to starve to death before being callously dumped in the bin.

“Rabbit neglect is so incredibly sad as it often goes undetected until it’s too late.

“They’re far too easy to acquire and to neglect often without anyone ever knowing.

“Thankfully I’m able to report that Buster, who is a typical lovely and boisterous Staffie has made a full recovery and has been rehomed.

“I’m grateful to the members of the public who were clearly on the ball and ensured that the situation was reported to us.”

Sentencing: 18-month community order. Fined £585. Banned from keeping animals for life with the right of appeal after five years.

Liverpool Echo
Wirral Globe

Washford, Somerset: Heather Stanton

#TheList hoarder Heather Stanton, born c. 1958, of Barn End, Williton Road, Washford, Somerset TA23 0NU – left several animals to suffer in squalor with untreated health conditions

Some of the pets rescued from animal abuser Heather Stanton from Washford, Somerset
Some of the pets who suffered appalling neglect at the hands of their negligent owner Heather Stanton

Stanton was found guilty of the mistreatment of 11 dogs, including a sheepdog, a Jack Russell Terrier, Chinese Crested type dogs and Pomeranian type dogs.

Some of the pets rescued from animal abuser Heather Stanton from Washford, Somerset

The animals had a number of conditions including eye and skin infections which were not treated.

Stanton was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a white lionhead rabbit by confining the animal to the detriment of his wellbeing, to which she had pleaded not guilty.

Stanton pleaded not guilty to causing suffering to a white domestic cat but was again found to be guilty.

She also admitted to the mistreatment of a tortoise and six birds in her care.

Speaking about the case RSPCA inspector Jo Daniel said: “This was an upsetting case of extreme neglect for which there can be no excuse.

“Stanton had more animals than she could cope with and was unable to care for them adequately, as a result sadly many of the animals were suffering.

“All owners are responsible for meeting the needs of the animals in their care and we now look forward to finding these animals the loving homes they deserve.”

Sentencing:
Fined £5,000 and £85 costs. Community order of 80 hours of unpaid work. Disqualified from owning dogs, cats, birds and tortoises for five years under the Animal Welfare Act.

Somerset County Gazette
SomersetLive

Stoke-on-Trent: Kayleigh Weston

#TheList junkie Kayleigh Weston, born 1987, of Lucerne Road, Biddulph, Stoke-on-Trent ST8 7FG – left family rabbit to starve to death in her hutch

Junkie Kayleigh Weston from Stoke-on-Trent left a little rabbit named Smudge to starve to death in her filthy hutch
Junkie Kayleigh Weston left a little rabbit named Smudge to starve to death in her filthy hutch

A police officer went to the defendant’s address and found the rabbit, named Smudge, dead in a hutch filled with droppings. He alerted the RSPCA and an examination found the animal was emaciated.

Roger Price, prosecuting for the RPSCA, told North Staffordshire Justice Centre a police officer visited the defendant’s home on April 14, 2018, and when there was no answer he went to the back of the house.

Mr Price said: “He was alerted to look into a rabbit’s hutch. There was an empty water bottle and an empty food bottle. There were a lot of droppings piled up. There was a lifeless black and white rabbit which was clearly dead.

“The RSPCA became involved and the rabbit was examined. A post mortem examination was carried out. The vet found there was no body fat at all on the animal and a very poor muscle mass. It was emaciated. All the skeletal bones could be seen. It had had diarrhoea and was probably dehydrated.

“The rabbit was significantly underweight. It was clearly ill and in need of veterinary attention.

“The rabbit was totally dependent on the owner to regularly inspect daily and to provide adequate food for the pet. It was estimated to have been dead for between two and four days.”

The defendant, who had owned the rabbit for six years, said she fed Smudge nuggets and carrots between 5pm and 6pm and cleaned the hutch once a week, but on occasions it was longer.

The court heard she last cleaned it out one or two weeks before the officer found the rabbit.

She added she did not think the rabbit was thin.

Weston pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by failing to explore and address the animal’s poor bodily condition between April 2 and 14, 2018.

The court heard the defendant descended into a chaotic lifestyle due to her drug use.

All her other pets have since been re-homed and she is, apparently, no longer using drugs.

James Hulse, mitigating, said the defendant’s care for the animal was ‘sporadic and incompetent’.

Mr Hulse said: “She threw food into the cage but did not look to see if the rabbit was eating the food properly.

“Had she been to the vet and said, ‘My animal is not eating’. It is that that has not occurred. There was care but it was incompetent.”

Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “This hutch was at least a few inches deep with faeces. The dead rabbit was found in a second compartment in the hutch. There was no food or water and as the rabbit was so emaciated it became clear that she had starved to death. There wasn’t even any rabbit food in the house.

“This was confirmed by a post mortem, which also showed that Smudge had zero body fat. She said that because Smudge was outside, she forgot about her. It is so sad that it was a case of out of sight, out of mind.

“It is so important to look after pets which are kept outside just as well as you would with pets who live inside your house, particularly as it gets colder and people are going outside in their gardens less.

“On top of that, rabbits have sensitive stomachs and going without food for even just 12 hours can cause them to suffer. The fact that Smudge went without food for so long is unbearable.

“It’s unbelievably cruel to simply leave an animal to slowly die in a cage without the care they need and deserve to survive.”

Sentencing:
Fined £240 and ordered to pay costs and charges totalling £330. Disqualified from owning an animal for five years but can apply to have the disqualification terminated after three years.

Stoke Sentinel

Newton, Sudbury, Suffolk: Matthew Lowe

#TheList Matthew Lowe, born 26/03/1979, previously of Newton, Sudbury, Suffolk and more recently 4 Gantry Close, Colchester CO1 2ZP – prosecuted for eight offences for neglect of poultry, pigs and rabbits on his smallholding.

Adam Pearson, prosecuting on behalf of Trading Standards at Suffolk County Council, said inspectors had attended Lowe’s smallholding at land off the Street in Assington, Suffolk, on December 19, 2017 after receiving a tip-off from a neighbour.

The pigs and poultry present on the site were found with no food and inadequate shelter. Piglets were in an unsuitable rearing environment, sows were underweight, and both pigs and poultry had parasites present.  Lowe also failed to correctly register to keep pigs.

Mr Pearson described four rabbits which were in such poor health they had to be euthanised.

He said officers found a one large white rabbit lying on its side in an enclosure suffering from breathing problems.

One of the rabbits found on a smallholding operated by Matthew Lowe near Sudbury. The rabbit was later put down Picture: SUFFOLK TRADING STANDARDS

A brown rabbit was discovered with swollen eyes and symptoms of myxomatosis while a second white rabbit was found with a badly injured back leg which had set at an angle, affecting the animal’s movement.

A fourth rabbit was discovered unresponsive with a sore ‘the size of a 50p piece’ on its back.

He added there were signs that rats had infested the rabbit enclosures and that officers also discovered a rubbish bin with four rabbit carcasses inside.

Following the prosecution, Suffolk Trading Standards are now working with Lowe to arrange the safe rehoming of the animals which he owns.

Sentencing:
Lowe was given an eight week prison sentence suspended for 18 months, 25 day’s rehabilitation activity requirement; 100 hours of unpaid work, costs of £4,899 and a £115 victim surcharge. He was disqualified from keeping any farmed animal for five years (expires October 2023).

Suffolk County Council
East Anglian Daily Times

 

Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire: Jeremiah Smith and father Jason Smith

Jeremiah Smith, born July 1997, and his father Jason Smith, born ca 1972, both of 11 Burton Road, Branston, Burton On Trent, Staffordshire DE14 3DL for cruelty to rabbits, hens, owls and a kestrel

Animal abuser Jeremiah Smith from Burton on Trent
Gypsy Jeremiah Smith and two of his victims

Gypsies Jeremiah and Jason Smith were both prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The RSPCA found up to 70 animals at their address at 11 Burton Road including chickens, rabbits and birds of prey, the latter kept in cages for parrots and being fed unsuitable foods. Chickens were also not being treating for a mite infestation.

Smith senior pleaded guilty to charges of failing to prevent the causing of unnecessary suffering to animals between August 10 and 15, 2017.

This included failing to treat 17 chickens for a mite infestation and failing to meet the need for a suitable living environment for 30 chickens. He also pleaded guilty for failing to meet the need for a suitable living environment for three goldfinches.

His son Jeremiah Smith – father to 3yo triplets – pleaded guilty to four charges of causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals.

Irresponsible gypsy and animal abuser Jeremiah Smith bought and sold birds via social media
Irresponsible gypsy and animal abuser Jeremiah Smith bought and sold birds via social media

This included failing to meet the need for a suitable living environment for five rabbits, a kestrel, two barn owls and 12 pigeons as well as failing to meet their need of a suitable diet and constant water supply for the rabbits.

The RSPCA praised the court for their ruling and warned people not to keep animals they cannot look after.

Sentencing:
Jason Smith – total fines and charges of £1,055.
Jeremiah Smith – total fines and charges of  £1,455.Both were disqualified from keeping animals for two years.

Jason Smith’s lawyer said they would be appealing against the decision.

St Budeaux, Plymouth: Darryn Carpenter

#TheList Darryn Carpenter, aged 37, Normandy Way, Plymouth PL5 – beat pet rabbit Lucky to death and dumped his broken body in a dustbin

Twisted father Darryn Carpenter of St Budeaux beat a defenceless pet rabbit to death
Twisted father Darryn Carpenter of St Budeaux beat a defenceless pet rabbit to death

Father-of-two Carpenter, who has a conviction for domestic violence, was found guilty in his absence of causing Lucky unnecessary suffering on or about December 8 , 2017.

Police visiting Carpenter’s home on another matter found the animal wrapped in a plastic bag in the bin.

When questioned Carpenter claimed he had gone downstairs when he heard Lucky making noises, and after picking him up he dropped Lucky on the floor by accident. He said  that when he put Lucky back into the hutch he was unharmed, but was found dead in the hutch the next day.

A post-mortem examination showed Lucky has suffered a severe injury to his thorax (the area between the neck and the abdomen).

He had a fracture dislocation of his spine and severe bleed to his chest cavity and into his lungs. It was concluded that he died as a “result of blunt force trauma”. Significant force had been applied to break the rabbit’s back. None of this was consistent with Carpenter’s claims that the rabbit had accidentally fallen to the floor.

Speaking about the case RSPCA chief inspector Richard Abbott said: “This was a very upsetting case where Mr Carpenter inflicted a great deal of violence and cruelty on a defenceless pet, who was kept at his home.”

“Pets deserve to be treated with care and respect and it’s terribly sad that poor Lucky’s life ended in this way.”

Sentence: 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. Total of £615 costs and charges.  Banned from keeping any animal for 10 years (expires August 2028).

Dewsbury, West Yorkshire: Rachel Louise Goodwin

#TheList Rachel Louise Goodwin, aged 29, from Broomer Street, Dewsbury WF13 –  found guilty in her absence of five cases of animal abuse after four rabbits and two guinea pigs were found dead at her home.

Convicted pet abuser Rachel Louise Goodwin from Dewsbury
Rachel Louise Goodwin starved rabbits and guinea pigs to death and didn’t even have the decency to turn up for her court hearing

Single mother-of-seven Goodwin was convicted after four rabbits and two guinea pigs kept at her home were found dead. She was due to appear before Kirklees Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 15/8/18 but failed to attend so the case was heard in her absence.

Goodwin was found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering and four counts of failing to meet the needs of the animals under the Animal Welfare Act.

The animals were discovered when a fifth rabbit, named Ginger, was found sitting under a car on Broomer Street on 2nd January 2018 and was picked up by an RSPCA officer.

Further enquiries led the officer to Goodwin’s address. Kris Walker, RSPCA Inspector, said: “My colleague went to Goodwin’s house to see if the rabbit belonged to her but soon became concerned and I and the police attended.

“We were faced with an absolutely heartbreaking scene; the dead rabbits and guinea pigs were in hutches in the garden, some were much more decomposed than others so clearly some of them had been living there alongside the bodies.

“Veterinary evidence suggested one of the rabbits, called Spike, had been dead for around three days, while rabbits Rihanna and Selena had been dead for as little as 24 hours.

“Half of guinea pig Tinkerbell’s body was missing so it was impossible to say how long Tinkerbell had been dead.”

Inspector Walker added: “The hutches were absolutely filthy and there was no food or water.”

“We presume that Ginger was loose and therefore had access to grass which is probably the reason for this rabbit’s survival.”

Ginger was signed over to the RSPCA and has since been rehomed.

Yorkshire Evening Post

Southampton: Scott Bicknell and George Cole

#TheList Scott Maurice Bicknell, born 05/09/1976 of 13 Kiln Lane, Old Alresford, Alresford SO24, and gypsy traveller George Cole, born  03/07/1946 of Newdeeps Farm, Winchester Road, Upham, Southampton SO32 – for horrific separate acts of animal cruelty involving a rabbit and dog

Stills from video footage used in the RSPCA's prosecution against Scott Bicknell and George Cole
Stills from video footage used in the RSPCA’s prosecution against Scott Bicknell and George Cole

Bicknell and Cole pleaded guilty to one animal welfare offence each of causing unnecessary suffering in relation to two separate incidents.

RSPCA Chief Inspector (CI) Will Mitchell from the Special Operations Unit said: “A mobile phone was seized as part of separate police operation which led to evidence of animal welfare concerns being uncovered and prompted warrants at two addresses in Hampshire.

“On the phone – which belonged to another man who isn’t part of our investigations – we found videos and Whatsapp messages.

“One of these videos showed Mr Bicknell in his garden setting his dogs on a wild rabbit and encouraging them to kill it. It’s really horrific footage to watch.”

The RSPCA joined Hampshire Police Countrywatch Team to execute warrants at two addresses in April.

At the Upham property, officers found a female lurcher collapsed in a pile of hay in a barn.

CI Mitchell added: “The vet checked her immediately and she cried out in pain when he touched her.

“Her breathing was laboured and she was shaking. She was emaciated and weak.

“When officers helped her onto her feet they made a shocking discovery – a huge, ulcerated tumour under her abdomen.

“The vet said it had been there for months, possibly years.”

The dog was sadly put to sleep to end her suffering.

Sentencing:
Bicknell – 12-week prison term, suspended for two years; ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work’ total of £415 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping all animals for just two years (expires August 2020).

Cole – 12-week prison term, suspended for two years; total of £440 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping all animals for five years (expires August 2023).

Source: RSPCA press release 08/08/2018

 

Bournemouth, Dorset: Charmaine Collins

#TheList Charmaine Victoria Louise Collins, born 02/01/1990, of Rosebery Road, Southborne, Bournemouth BH5 2JH – let 61 animals die in her maggot-infested flat

Hoarder Charmaine Collins from Bournemouth and some images from the scene of horror that confronted the RSPCA.
Hoarder Charmaine Collins from Bournemouth and some images from the scene of horror that confronted the RSPCA.

Mother-of-one Collins crammed 196 animals including cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils and lizards as well as ducks and chickens in to her two-bedroom flat at 25 Hamilton Road in Boscombe before she was raided by police and the RSPCA. Some animals had gone without water and food for at least a week. Of the 196 animals, 61 died.

The court heard that Collins, who had started a degree in veterinary care, had established an animal breeding business called Fairytales with a friend. However, the friend backed out around two weeks before the flat was raided.

Officials found 48 animals in a small shed in the property’s communal garden. Many of the creatures inside – including 30 guinea pigs – were dead at the time, or died shortly afterwards.

Entry was then forced to the flat, which was in darkness and without electricity. As RSPCA inspector Patrick Bailey panned a torch around the dark rooms, the beam fell on a severely dehydrated rabbit, which was “convulsing”.

Officers were cofonfronted with loosely-stacked crates and cages filled with animals and smaller creatures suffocating in plastic containers.

More rabbits were confined to these containers, unable to move in any direction.

An animal carcass infested with maggots was also discovered. Decomposition indicated the creature had been dead for some time.

The RSPCA had first become involved with Collins in April 2016 over “similar issues”. At that time, Collins sought help from officials and some months later had just two dogs and a lizard.

However, she then began buying animals from fairs and shows. Ten days after she was interviewed by police, she travelled to Holland to buy 70 rodents. All have now been seized by the RSPCA.

Collins, who currently works as an assistant for Poole photography business Lite-Box Imagery,  admitted six charges relating to the care of the animals.

Sentence: 12-month community order and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days; total of £330 costs and charges. Banned from keeping any animal for the next 10 years (expires July 2028).

Daily Echo
Daily Mail

Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire: Mark and Carolynne Bustard

#TheList Mark A Bustard, born c. 1967, and wife Carolynne L Bustard, born c. 1965, of 5 Westfield Road, Heckmondwike WF16 9HJ – neglected 26 rabbits and kept them in tiny, filthy hutches; two rabbits died.

Animal hoarders Carolynne Bustard and husband Mark Bustard neglected the 26 rabbits in their care.
Animal hoarders Carolynne Bustard and husband Mark Bustard neglected the 26 rabbits in their care.

Mark and Carolynne Bustard – who also had 20 cats and some fish –
pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and one charge of failing to ensure a suitable environment was provided.

Rabbits owned by hoarders Mark and Carolynne Bustard.
The Bustards kept the rabbits in tiny filthy outdoor hutches.
Rabbits owned by hoarders Mark and Carolynne Bustard.

The rabbits were left in filthy hutches at the couple’s home with little food and water.

The pair were visited numerous times by RSPCA inspectors but refused their offers to rehome them.

They argued that they cared deeply for the pets, all of which were rescue animals, and had their best interests at heart.

Peter Davidson, prosecuting on behalf of the animal welfare charity, told Kirklees magistrates that the couple were first visited by an RSPCA inspector on October 24, 2017.

She visited to give advice about a kitten that needed veterinary treatment but found a significant number of rabbits in dirty hutches with only a few of the pets being given food and water.

The inspector gave advice to improve the living conditions for the rabbits and even offered to rehome them but this was rejected by the couple.

She revisited on November 24, 2017, and found that most of the rabbits still didn’t have access to food or water.

Some of the hutches were recently cleaned out but the others were still dirty.

Then on December 9, 2017, another visit was carried out and two rabbits were found in an extremely poor condition.

Mr Davidson said: “One was in an emaciated condition and lethargic and the other rabbit had died, that rabbit also described as being in an emaciated condition.

“Police attended and the two rabbits were seized. The living rabbit was examined by a vet who advised euthanasia due to its poor condition. However, the rabbit died before authority could be obtained for that.”

A follow-up visit on December 15, 2017, showed that the hutches had been cleaned, magistrates were told.

The RSPCA has since seized all of the rabbits except 14 and they have been successfully rehomed by the charity.

One of the rabbits, named Peter, was examined by a vet and suffered significant dental problems because of his neglect with “it’s teeth digging into its tongue”, Mr Davidson said.

He added: “The two rabbits that died both suffered due to their poor body conditions for two weeks.”

Hoarders Mark and Carolynne Bustard pictured outside court.

Andy Day, mitigating, said that all of the rabbits had been rescued by the couple after either being left at their house or abandoned at a local pet shop.

He said: “They haven’t been able to say ‘no’ and have become overwhelmed with the number of animals that have gradually built up.

“They are not callous or cruel people and have taken care of these animals as best they could.

“They’re very upset and sorry that this situation has arisen and they now realise that they had far too many animals.”

Sentencing: total of £320 costs and charges each; two year ban on keeping rabbits (expires June 2020).

ExaminerLive