#TheList Victoria A Richards, born c. 1981, of Tunstall Gardens, Redcar TS10 2TR – neglected and starved a pet rabbit to death.
Richards, an ex-Navy veteran, admitted neglecting the pet, called Hugo, for a “prolonged” period of time after failing to provide enough food and water for him.
John Ellwood, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said that when the emaciated rabbit was found he was lying in two inches of his own droppings.
He said that when the RSPCA discovered Hugo an “empty water bottle was attached to the hutch” and that his “suffering was contributed to by the lack of water.
He added: “The pet slowly died through starvation over a long period of time rather than the owner removing food from it immediately.
“The neglect was over a long period and because of the lack of water the rabbit was unable to even eat its own bedding.”
Paul Watson, defending, said that Richards suffers from “anxiety and depression” and had previously served in the Navy but left due to stress.
He said: “She fully accepts guilt but maintains that her actions were not intentional.
“The rabbit was bought for her daughter and she believed that her and other people were feeding it but as the parent she agrees that she had a duty to take care of it.
“She did not realise it was emaciated.
“She had to Google how to take care of a rabbit as she only knows how to take care of cats and dogs, of which she has two.”
He added that Richards was “remorseful and ashamed”.
Chairman of the bench David Bennett said magistrates took a “very dim view of neglecting animals” and that she was “very close to going into custody”.
A co-defendant, Geoffrey Boon, born 1976 , of Coast Road, Marske TS11 7LZ, who was charged with the same offence, pleaded not guilty at the same hearing. He was set to appear for trial on 18 October 2017 but the outcome wasn’t reported.
Sentencing: 12-month community order with 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 40 hours of unpaid work. Ordered to pay £235 costs. Banned from keeping rabbits for five years (expires September 2022).