Tag Archives: kept in unsuitable conditions

Wolverhampton, West Midlands: Nicola Lissimore

#TheList Nicola J Lissimore, born 1970, of Mount Road, Wolverhampton WV4 6LU – kept four dead cats decaying inside a flea-ridden house

Nicola Lissimore, from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, kept her home in such a filthy state that fleas were found jumping at the front door and poo blocked the back door.
Nicola Lissimore, from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, kept her home in such a filthy state that fleas were found jumping at the front door and poo blocked the back door.

Lissimore kept her home in such a filthy state that fleas were found jumping at the front door and poo blocked the back door.

Pic by RSPCA/Caters News - (Pictured: The disgusting interior of Nicola Lissimores house.) -A woman living in squalor has been banned from keeping animals for life after four cats were found dead in her house - which was so filthy fleas were jumping at the front door and piles of faeces were blocking the back door. Nicola Lissimore, from Wolverhampton, West Mids, pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences when she appeared before Birmingham Magistrates Court on Friday (November 9). The 49-year-old lived in a filthy house and the court heard how the RSPCA were called to her address after concerns a number of cats were not being cared for. On investigation, four cats were found dead and a further 10 were found in a poor bodily condition. Inspector Dawn Burrell went to the address and was unable to contact the owner but could see a number of emaciated cats through a window. She could also see piles of faeces and rubbish in the house and could not find any signs that the cats had food and water. The pets had no access to the outside and she could see fleas jumping up at the front door. The RSPCA monitored property for a few days and believed no one was attending to the cats so, upon veterinary advice, entry was gained with the help of officers from West Midlands Police. SEE CATERS COPY.

Pic by RSPCA/Caters News - (Pictured: The disgusting interior of Nicola Lissimores house.) -A woman living in squalor has been banned from keeping animals for life after four cats were found dead in her house - which was so filthy fleas were jumping at the front door and piles of faeces were blocking the back door. Nicola Lissimore, from Wolverhampton, West Mids, pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences when she appeared before Birmingham Magistrates Court on Friday (November 9). The 49-year-old lived in a filthy house and the court heard how the RSPCA were called to her address after concerns a number of cats were not being cared for. On investigation, four cats were found dead and a further 10 were found in a poor bodily condition. Inspector Dawn Burrell went to the address and was unable to contact the owner but could see a number of emaciated cats through a window. She could also see piles of faeces and rubbish in the house and could not find any signs that the cats had food and water. The pets had no access to the outside and she could see fleas jumping up at the front door. The RSPCA monitored property for a few days and believed no one was attending to the cats so, upon veterinary advice, entry was gained with the help of officers from West Midlands Police. SEE CATERS COPY.

Pic by RSPCA/Caters News - (Pictured: The front door with faeces piled behind it) -A woman living in squalor has been banned from keeping animals for life after four cats were found dead in her house - which was so filthy fleas were jumping at the front door and piles of faeces were blocking the back door. Nicola Lissimore, from Wolverhampton, West Mids, pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences when she appeared before Birmingham Magistrates Court on Friday (November 9). The 49-year-old lived in a filthy house and the court heard how the RSPCA were called to her address after concerns a number of cats were not being cared for. On investigation, four cats were found dead and a further 10 were found in a poor bodily condition. Inspector Dawn Burrell went to the address and was unable to contact the owner but could see a number of emaciated cats through a window. She could also see piles of faeces and rubbish in the house and could not find any signs that the cats had food and water. The pets had no access to the outside and she could see fleas jumping up at the front door. The RSPCA monitored property for a few days and believed no one was attending to the cats so, upon veterinary advice, entry was gained with the help of officers from West Midlands Police. SEE CATERS COPY.

The home was so bad that RSPCA inspectors ‘gagged’ as they searched the property.

As well as the the four dead cats, another ten were found alive – but in poor health – with many of them suffering from dehydration and other medical issues.

The below video shows the horrifying scene that RSPCA officers were met with:

Lissimore pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences on Friday, November 9, 2018.

The RSPCA were called to her address after concerns were raised of a number of cats not being cared for, the court heard.

Inspector Dawn Burrell went to the address and was unable to contact the owner but could see a number of emaciated cats through a window.

She could also see piles of poo and rubbish in the house and could not find any signs that the cats had food and water.

The pets had no access to the outside and shockingly she could see fleas jumping up at the front door.

The RSPCA monitored the property for a few days and believed no one was attending to the cats so, upon veterinary advice, entry was gained with the help of officers from West Midlands Police.

Inspector Burrell said once inside it was clear the cats were suffering from dehydration, were emaciated and had other untreated medical issues.

“This time a front panel went through and immediately the smell of ammonia hit us as we went inside – it was so strong we were physically gagging.

“We found four dead cats amongst the piles of faeces which was piled high, there was rubbish strewn around and the only water available in the property was from a bathroom tap which was left running but the door was closed so they couldn’t access it.

“This was one of the worst properties I have entered in my thirty years in the job.

“It was so sad to see these dead cats just left in the filth and the others were either emaciated or had other health problems which had not been addressed.”

The surviving cats were signed over into the care of the RSPCA and have now been rehabilitated.

Some have already found new homes and others are still waiting for adopters.

Sentencing:
12-week jail term suspended for 18 months; 30-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement; 100 hours of unpaid work. Total of £415 costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for life.

Birmingham Mail
Metro

Stoke-on-Trent: Paul Simpson

#TheList Paul Simpson, born 16/05/1958, of Maple Avenue, Stoke-on-Trent ST7 1JW – left two horses to starve in a field, one of whom later had to be put down.

Paul Simpson of Maple Avenue, Stoke, left his horses to starve in a field
Paul Simpson’s horses were found starving, covered in lice, and with no food or water.

Simpson pleaded guilty to three charges under the Animal Welfare Act.

The RSPCA was contacted by a member of the public who had seen a horse lying down in a field off Mere Lake Road, Talke Pits, Stoke-on-Trent. A bay mare, Polly, and a grey mare, Biscuit were found “skinny and lame, covered in lice and with no food or water”.

Between 1 November and 28 November 2017 Simpson caused unnecessary suffering by failing to investigate the cause of the poor bodily condition and weight loss of Polly and Biscuit.

Paul Simpson of Maple Avenue, Stoke, left his horses to starve in a field

Before 28 November 2017 Simpson caused unnecessary suffering by housing a lame horse, Polly, on wet muddy ground,

Between 8 August 2017 and 28 November 2017 Simpson failed to provide veterinary care for Biscuit’s lameness.

RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin, who investigated, said: “Both horses had rugs on them but I could still see every bone sticking out. I attended with World Horse Welfare, a vet and the police and we were all immediately concerned. Both horses had a really depressed demeanour and were just standing there not moving.

“The vet had a look at them and made the decision that they were suffering and needed immediate veterinary attention. They both had low body scores, one was given a body score of 0.5 out of five and the other was given a score of one.

“Polly, also had a swollen knee from an untreated injury, and Biscuit had a massive bone abscess on one of her front hooves which would have been incredibly painful for her and was the reason why she was so lame.”

Biscuit was found to have “pus coming out of every hoof” and was “so poorly” the vet made the decision to put her down. Polly was taken into the care of World Horse Welfare.

Sentencing:10-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months; two-week curfew; ordered to pay £250 costs and £115 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping horses for five years

Horse and Hound

Stafford, Staffordshire: David Bromley

#TheList David P Bromley, born 13/02/1989, currently of Tixall Road, Stafford ST16 – left two starving dogs in a cage with no food and water

David Bromley from Stafford was banned from keeping animals after leaving two starving dogs in a cage with no food and water
David Bromley from Stafford was banned from keeping animals after leaving two starving dogs in a cage with no food and water

Crossbreed Caesar and Staffy Buster  were so thin that all of their rib bones were sticking out and they were also covered in fleas. Both dogs also had self-trauma from scratching themselves because of the fleas.

Their owner, David P Bromley, previously of Eaton Street, Northwood, Stoke-on-Trent ST1, pleaded guilty to four Animal Welfare Act offences.

David Bromley from Stafford was banned from keeping animals after leaving two starving dogs in a cage with no food and water

The court heard the RSPCA became involved after receiving a call from a worried member of the public who had seen how thin the dogs  were.

When an inspector arrived at the property in Eaton Street, Northwood, both dogs were in a small cage together with no food or water.

RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “I was really shocked at the state of the poor dogs. When I saw them in the cage they didn’t react at all, they were so depressed – there was no barking, nothing.

“They spent hours at a time in this cage, with no bedding, no food and no water.

“When the vet looked at them, they were also found to be dehydrated and it had been at least 24 hours since they’d had any water.

“They were fed in the vets and they ate the food ravenously. As they were so weak they had to be admitted at the vets for a few days for observations.”

Bromley told Inspector Melvin that he could not afford to feed the dogs and that he would bring back scraps of meat from the takeaway where he worked at the time, which he would feed them.

He also said that he felt remorse.

Caesar and Buster have since made a good recovery and have now been rehomed.

Sentencing:
Total of £450 fines, costs and charges. Ten-year ban on keeping animals. 

Stoke-on-Trent Live

Robertstown, Co Kildare, Ireland: Thomas Cross

#TheList Thomas Cross, 13 Grove Heights, Robertstown, County Kildare, Ireland – allowed his two boxer dogs to become so emaciated they were close to death

Thomas Cross from Robertstown, Co Kildare, was convicted of animal cruelty offences to two boxer dogs.
Thomas Cross from Robertstown, Co Kildare, was convicted of animal cruelty offences to two boxer dogs.

Cross pleaded guilty in Naas District Court on Monday 5 November 2018 to two counts of animal cruelty relating to the dogs.

The case originated after an ISPCA Inspector visiting the Co. Kildare property in January 2017 discovered the two boxer dogs in an extremely poor physical state and living in deplorable conditions.

Thomas Cross from Robertstown, Co Kildare, was convicted of animal cruelty offences to two boxer dogs.Kildare Man Convicted Of Animal Cruelty Offences To Two Boxer DogsThe ISPCA immediately seized both dogs and transported them to the National Animal Centre in Co. Longford where they received the veterinary treatment and rehabilitation they desperately required.

The dogs were extremely emaciated and upon examination a vet confirmed that they were suffering from severe malnutrition with their ribs and vertebrae visibly protruding.

One dog had lesions along his back and hind legs, severely overgrown nails, and the tip of his tail had been damaged and was bleeding intermittently.

Thomas Cross from Robertstown, Co Kildare, was convicted of animal cruelty offences to two boxer dogs.

The other dog had dark discharge and scabs on his ears, his teeth were worn down and there was also evidence of chronic gingivitis.

Thomas Cross from Robertstown, Co Kildare, was convicted of animal cruelty offences to two boxer dogs.

Veterinary Surgeon Ann Neville outlined the condition of the dogs to the court, describing the animals as “near death”. Photographs taken at the time were handed into the court for consideration by the Judge.

ISPCA Chief Inspector Conor Dowling said: “The conditions these dogs were kept in is simply shocking. There is no excuse and failure to provide the basic level of care for these dogs was just not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

“The ISPCA will do all that we can to improve the welfare for all animals in Ireland and members of the public should continue to report animal welfare concerns to the ISPCA by contacting the National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515 or report cruelty online in confidence”

The dogs, later named Ace and Artie, made a full recovery and were also rehomed together where they are enjoying life in a fabulous new home in Dundrum, Co. Dublin.

Sentencing: two consecutive four-month terms of imprisonment (eight months in total); fined €5,000 with twelve months to pay and total costs of €2,400

ISPCA News
Extra.ie

Methil, Fife: Juliet S Watson

#TheList Juliet S Watson, born c. 1976, previously of Lime Grove, Methil, Fife KY8 2JR but apparently now living in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire –  badly neglected three dogs in her care and exposed them to urine, faeces and domestic debris in her filthy home.

Juliet Watson, now of Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, neglected three helpless dogs
Juliet Watson, now of Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, neglected three helpless dogs

Watson admitted causing unnecessary suffering to German Shepherd Sasha, Doberman Casper and Rottweiler Diesel between June and September in 2016.

The 42-year-old, who now lives in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, also admitted tying one of the dog’s legs to her neck to restrict her movement – a practise known as “hobbling”.

She pled guilty and was sentenced at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on November 1, 2018, following a probe by the animal welfare charity.

Scottish SPCA Senior Inspector Steven Gray said: “These charges were dealt as Watson failed to provide suitable diet and meet the needs of the three dogs in her care, Diesel, a three year old male Rottweiler, Casper a two year old male Doberman and Sasha a one year old female German shepherd.

Sasha had overgrown claws due to Juliet Watson's appalling neglect of her and two other dogs
Sasha had overgrown claws due to Juliet Watson’s appalling neglect of her and two other dogs

“Upon veterinary examination, all three dogs were noted to be obviously underweight, with body scores of 1/9, all weighing half of what is healthy for their breed.

“All three were found to have overgrown nails.

“A bandage was removed from Sasha’s front leg, once the tangled bandage was removed no evidence of an injury either recent or previously healed could be found.

“It is possible she may have been hobbled to restrict movement.

“Diesel, Casper and Sasha were taken to one of our centres where they received care and an appropriate diet. Once they fully recovered we found them loving forever homes.

“I’m happy the courts have dealt with this case, however it further highlights our push for tougher and more consistent sentencing.

“This level of neglect didn’t happen overnight and could have easily been avoided.”

Sentencing:
12 months’ supervision. Banned  from keeping animals for 10 years (expires November 2028).

Scottish SPCA
The Courier

 

Lanlivery, near Bodmin, Cornwall: Tara Sutton

#TheList Tara Sutton, born c. 1975, of Lanivery, Cornwall PL30 5DL – left eight ponies to suffer in ‘dangerously boggy’ field in deep mud with no food

Eight ponies belonging to Tara Sutton from Lanlivery, Cornwall were found in squalid conditions when they were rescued near Bodmin in April 2018.
Eight ponies belonging to Tara Sutton from Lanlivery, Cornwall were found in squalid conditions when they were rescued near Bodmin in April 2018.

Tara Sutton,  owner of a ‘ponies-for-hire’ business named Miss Polly’s Ponies, pleaded guilty  on Thursday 25/10/2018 to two offences in a prosecution case brought by the RSPCA.

Eight ponies belonging to Tara Sutton from Lanlivery, Cornwall were found in squalid conditions when they were rescued near Bodmin in April 2018.

Sutton left ponies Cherry, Tic-Tac, Millie, Benson, Cilla, Lady, and two known as George to suffer in squalid conditions to the point that bones could be seen through their skin.

The ponies were rescued near Bodmin in April 2018.

Four of the ponies, two Shetlands known as George and Cilla, along with a cob known as George, and Cherry, were found to be suffering and were so underweight that bones could be seen through their skin.

Eight ponies belonging to Tara Sutton from Lanlivery, Cornwall were found in squalid conditions when they were rescued near Bodmin in April 2018.

RSPCA inspector Claire Ryder, who investigated the neglect, said: “This case is a reminder that caring for horses is a huge responsibility and highlights the importance of ensuring their welfare.

“Sutton neglected to meet the basic care needs of her horses; they were kept in wholly unsuitable housing with no forage, no food, and just a small amount of dirty water.

“The land where they were left to graze was dangerously boggy, with ponies faced with no choice but to stand in deep mud.

“Wherever possible we offer advice and assistance to improve animal welfare, including giving people time to make improvements to their standards of care, however, despite advice from ourselves, other equine charities, and a Defra vet, Sutton continued to fail to provide appropriate care for her horses.”

Sentencing:
12 weeks in custody, suspended for twelve months. Ordered to pay £300. Banned from keeping equines for three years (expires October 2021). The disqualification and seizure orders are suspended for 28 days by the court to enable her to find homes for the horses in her care.

CornwallLive

 

Norton Canes, Staffordshire: Jacqueline Rita Wilson

#TheList Jacqueline Rita Wilson, born c. 1968, of Chapel Street, Norton Canes, Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 – starved her horse to the point of collapse and which led to her eventual death

Jacqueline Rita Wilson of Chapel St, Norton Canes, Staffs, starved Duchess to the point of collapse. Sadly she never recovered.
Jacqueline Rita Wilson of Chapel St, Norton Canes, Staffs, starved Duchess to the point of collapse. Sadly she never recovered.

Wilson pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the horse, called Duchess, RSPCA Inspector Kate Levesley attended the scene and found the severely emaciated red road cob collapsed in a field in Coulter Lane, Burntwood.

It is thought that Duchess had been collapsed for at least 24 hours before being discovered.

Sadly, she was so poorly that, after a month under veterinary care and with no improvement, the decision was made to put her to sleep.

Kate Levesley said: “Duchess was really struggling to get up as she was so weak. The vet took one look at her and said she needed to get to the surgery as she was so poorly.

“She was so skinny and clearly looked to be in pain. She was so ill that at first look you would have thought she wasn’t alive.

“Duchess was in such a bad way, the vet confirmed she was suffering and as a result the police were able to seize her.

“At the vets she was found to have had a stomach infection which was not treated and which has been so bad that she was unable to recover.

“There was also no food, grazing or water for Duchess on the field, nor was there any shelter.

“As soon as she was offered food and water she immediately ate and drank it as she had been without it for some time.”

Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months; ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work; five-year ban on keeping animals (expires November 2023).

DerbyshireLive

Meir, Stoke-on-Trent: Natalie Keenan and David Knight

#TheList Natalie Keenan, born c. 1989, and David Knight, born c. 1977, both of Sandon Old Road, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent ST3 – kept 23 pets – including a barn owl, a fox and a raccoon dog – inside a smelly and flea-ridden house of horrors

David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors

David Knight pleaded guilty to five charges related to animal cruelty, while Natalie Keenan admitted four offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

The pair’s mini-zoo was discovered by chance when a utility company official went round to the Meir home to execute a warrant as they hadn’t paid their gas bill.

He alerted the RSPCA, who were confronted by the stench of neglect, with piles of dog poo in the kitchen, rotting chickens in a snake tank and animals covered in fleas.

David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors

Other creatures – from pets to exotics to wild animals – were being kept in tiny filthy cages, with barely enough room to move and without ready access to water.

A raccoon dog kept in a foul cage by Natalie Keenan and David Knight from Meir, Stoke

One terrier-type dog, called Lexi, was in such a poor condition that she had to be put to sleep.

Hazel Stevens, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said Lexi was experiencing ‘significant suffering’. She was virtually blind, emaciated with protruding bones, had little fur and an infected tumour that was hidden underneath a ‘foul-smelling mess’.

The dog was found curled up on a pile of dirty nappies and had to be carried out of the house as she couldn’t walk.

The couple also had:

  • another dog, Mocha the French bulldog
  • a cat called Gizzy, who both had skin and flea problems;
  • a barn owl caged up in a bedroom
  • a fox living in a cage in another room;
  • a racoon dog
  • a rat
  • a bearded dragon
  • five snakes
  • eight degus;
  • and an African grey parrot called Charlie.
David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors
Lexi was in such poor condition she had to be put to sleep

RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “When I arrived at the property the couple wouldn’t let me inside so I waited outside for over two hours until police arrived.

“During that time the family carried bin bag after bin bag of rubbish out of the house.

“When I finally went inside it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Even though they’d been clearing out for two hours it was still absolutely filthy and the animals were being kept in horrifying conditions.

“There was cage after cage and animal after animal. The rooms were strewn with rubbish, all of the animals’ accommodation was filthy and their welfare needs were clearly not being met.

“It was disgusting and it was mass-scale neglect.”

The other animals remain in RSPCA care and can now be rehomed or moved to suitable keepers.

“Many of these animals simply shouldn’t be kept as pets let alone kept like this,” Inspector Melvin added.

“To see these poor animals living in such squalor was heartbreaking. I’m just glad they can all now have a second chance at find loving new homes where their needs will be properly catered to.”

Sentencing: 12-month community order including a 30-hour rehabilitation requirement. Total of £235 each in costs and charges.  Both were disqualified from keeping animals for three years.

Stoke Sentinel
Signal1

 

Fairfield, Liverpool L7: Maureen and Robert Payne

#TheList Maureen Payne, born c. 1958, and son Robert J Payne, born 1980, both of Birchfield Close, Fairfield, Liverpool L7 9LZ – kept their elderly maggot-infested shih-tzu dog in filth and squalor and with a variety of untreated health issues

Maureen Payne and son Robert Payne from Liverpool kept their poorly elderly shih-tzu in appalling conditions
Maureen Payne and son Robert Payne kept their poorly elderly shih-tzu in appalling conditions

RSPCA Inspector Fischer was greeted by a strong smell of urine and faeces upon entering the “cluttered” and “dirty” house occupied by Maureen Payne, 60, and her 38yo son Robert Payne.

One photograph taken inside the property shows a floor coated in animal faeces, with paw prints where Poppy had walked her waste through the house.  Her bed was full of faeces and she had urinated throughout the house.

Maureen Payne and son Robert Payne from Liverpool kept their poorly elderly shih-tzu in appalling conditions

Inspector Fischer eventually found the elderly shih-tzu hiding under an upstairs bed where she was “snappy and reluctant to come out”. Her fur was matted and covered in faeces. She was also blind, overweight, and infested with maggots.

Maureen Payne and son Robert Payne from Liverpool kept their poorly elderly shih-tzu in appalling conditions

Ms Payne told the RSPCA that she had booked an appointment at the vet but it was later established that this was a lie.

Vets at the Greater Manchester Animal Hospital had to shave off Poppy’s badly matted fur to try and treat her numerous conditions which included skin sores and dry eye.  The dog, who was described as being in pain and distress, had become obese through lack of walking. Sadly, she was put to sleep.

Maureen Payne and son Robert Payne from Liverpool kept their poorly elderly shih-tzu in appalling conditions

Paul Potter, defending the pair, said Ms Payne is “bad on her feet” and has limited mobility, which meant she could not walk Poppy.

The dog was inherited from Ms Payne’s mother, who died in 2016. Mr Potter said Ms Payne had “successfully kept pets in the past but found this breed demanding”.

Sentencing:
Four-week curfew; joint costs of £586. Disqualified from keeping any animal for an indefinite period, with a minimum term of five years before they can appeal this order.

Liverpool Echo

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