Rabbit left to starve to death
A HELPLESS rabbit was left to starve to death in its hutch when its owner moved house, a court has heard.Lisa Levy, of Wesel Avenue, Felixstowe, was banned from keeping animals for three years after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to the black and white bunny by failing to give it proper care.
A HELPLESS rabbit was left to starve to death in its hutch when its owner moved house, a court has heard.
Lisa Levy, of Wesel Avenue, Felixstowe, was banned from keeping animals for three years after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to the black and white bunny by failing to give it proper care.
The family pet was so emaciated a post mortem carried out by a vet revealed it was just skin and bone.
After the case RSPCA Inspector Marc Nieopold said: "It is a tragic fact that rabbits are probably the most neglected animals in the country.
"This is a classic case where an animal has been forgotten and left to starve to death."
The inspector visited Levy's previous home address in Tacon Road, Felixstowe, to find it empty and the dead rabbit lying on the grass, prosecutor Hugh Rowland told South East Suffolk Magistrates.
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"He picked up the rabbit and could feel its skeleton through its coat," said Mr Rowland.
"It's ribs and pelvis were prominent. It was extremely thin and there were small maggots inside the cavity of its mouth."
In interview Levy, 29, said she moved house on October 19 but didn't have room for the rabbit.
So she left it in the garden with food and water, returning five days later to feed it [Oct 24], but noticed rabbit hadn't been eating.
Four days after she returned to find her pet dead and laid it on the grass ready to bury it.
A post mortem revealed the rabbit had: "no food in its stomach or small intestine" and had "no fat even around its kidneys, which is the last area of fat to go in cases of starvation," said Mr Rowland.
It also had multiple ulcers in its stomach. The maggots around its mouth, was probably caused after death.
"The length of the suffering was a least two weeks and possibly longer if the animal was eating its bedding," magistrates heard.
Roger Stewart, mitigating, told the court Levy, suffered postnatal depression and was forced to move out of her rented property because of problems over the rent.
She couldn't take the rabbit straight away when she moved because the hutch was too big to get in the vehicle.
Levy "who was ashamed of her actions" after keeping the rabbit for over two years couldn't recall the feeding arrangements a week before. But was confident the rabbit was fed because she cared for it for so long. When she returned to collect her pet, it was dead.
Magistrates ordered Levy to pay a total of £160,27, which included a £50 fine, £50 towards prosecution costs and RSPCA fees.
After the case Mr Nieopold said: " "I think it is vitally important that people don't forget animals that are kept outside.
"Every day we come across a rabbit in appalling conditions. People have a rabbit for their children and when they first get them they look after them.
"But as soon as the weather gets bad or when the children get bored of them they get forgotten about."
"A disqualification of any sort shows how serious the matter is and it should be a warning to anybody not to let this happen because they will be taken to court and dealt with."