Ferryhill, County Durham: Matthew Dennis Parker

#TheList Matthew Dennis Parker, born c. 1993, of Newton Street, Ferryhill, Co Durham DL17 8PW – abandoned three kittens in an empty property. One kitten found dead, the others were skin and bone.

Officers were called to Parker’s home after the RSPCA had established that he had not been back to his house to attend to the kittens for at least three days.

RSPCA inspector Clare Wilson said: “We had seen two kittens – Thor and Belle – on the windowsill of what we assumed was a bedroom upstairs, and they didn’t seem to have access to the rest of the house.

“When officers went in they found the kittens shut in.

“Tragically, a third kitten, Tigger, was found dead on the bed.

“All three of them were literally skin and bones but fortunately, with a lot of TLC, Thor and Belle have gone on to make a full recovery and have been rehomed.”

In mitigation the court heard that Parker was working a lot of hours at the time and thought he had left enough food for the kittens. They were told the last thing he wanted was to cause them suffering and regretted what had happened.

Inspector Wilson said: “We are seeing more and more people leaving their pets unattended for long periods. Not only is this unacceptable, it is against the law. If you must leave your pet unattended for more than 24 hours you must make arrangements for a responsible person to care for them in your absence.

“As this very sad case demonstrates, the consequences can be heartbreaking.”

Sentencing: 26 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months; 200 hours of unpaid work, 20 rehabilitation days; total of £415 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping animals for 20 years.

Northern Echo