#TheList Matthew Pearson, born 25/03/1983, of 74 Okement Drive, Wolverhampton WV11 1UZ – allowed five of his parents’ six pets to starve to death while they were away.
Matthew Pearson admitted 34 animal welfare offences relating to two dogs, two cats, a rat and hamster.
The father-of-two, who had been given £1,515 by his mother to feed the animals, had neglected to do so.
Pearson, then of Graisley Lane Wolverhampton, had been left in charge of his parent’s animals at a property in Portway Road, Bilston, in January 2011 when they went to visit family in Cornwall.
RSPCA inspectors were called to the house in March 2011 after a complaint.
Inspector Jayne Bashford said once inside they were confronted with a “truly horrific and disturbing” scene.
One emaciated bearded collie-type cross-breed dog, Buster, was found curled up dead in a basket in the kitchen. Officers then found two dismembered tortoiseshell cats, a dead hamster and a dead rat.
A second collie-type dog, Beethoven, was found to be just one stage away from being emaciated, weighing 8kg instead of the usual 13kg.
Tests later revealed the desperate, scavenging dog had torn the cats apart, leaving them as no more than a bag of bones.
Pearson’s lawyer told the court his client had “decided he just couldn’t cope” with the animals after they had become unwell.
The house was littered with dog and cat urine and faeces.
A pathologist confirmed that the animals died as a result of cardio-respiratory failure secondary to chronic malnutrition and emaciation.
Speaking after Pearson was sentenced, Inspector Bashford said: “I will never, ever forget the scene upon entering this property.
“All individuals involved, including experienced police officers, were visibly shocked by the conditions and horrific sight of multiple dead animals.
“Particularly disturbing to me were the scratch marks on the rear of the kitchen door where Buster had desperately tried to escape before he was found dead in his bed.”
“To die of starvation is an appalling, painful way for any animal to die and their suffering was so needless and preventable if only help had been sought.”
Beethoven recovered in the RSPCA’s care and was rehomed.
Sentencing: jailed for 20 weeks; £1,000 costs. Banned from keeping pets for ten years (expires September 2021).