Man jailed for cruel treatment of pets

One of the rabbits that suffered under the defendant's care
One of the rabbits that suffered under the defendant's care

A man has been jailed for eight weeks after leaving 11 pet rabbits with too little food and drink for a week despite being warned by the RSPCA.

Daniel Appleyard, 28, of Highfield Road, Kettering, was also banned from owning animals for five years when he was sentenced at Kettering Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Four of the rabbits died after being left with little food and drink for a week last June, with an animal pathologist attributing their deaths down to “severe or marked” dehydration.

The suffering animals included several young rabbits.

Appleyard, who had no previous convictions, did not own the pets but had taken care of them at an address in Windmill Avenue, Kettering, on behalf of his brother and his brother’s girlfriend.

He was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the pets and failing to get veterinary care at a hearing he did not attend on December 2 last year.

Robert Broughton, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: “An animal welfare officer went round to the premises on June 24 and found the pets with no food and a small amount of water, and a male rabbit in a red recycling container.

“She told the defendant this was completely unacceptable and returned the following week on June 29.

“She found one of the baby rabbits dead and another in a collapsed state.

“After taking them to veterinary care, they were given a bowl of water which they drank from for five to 10 minutes, indicating they were very thirsty.

“A surgeon at the vet’s said they must have been suffering.”

Three more rabbits eventually died.

The court heard that there were other animals at the premises that were in good condition, including two dogs.

Russell Eaton, representing Appleyard, said: “He was asked to care for the rabbits but didn’t know how to do that.

“He had financial issues that didn’t enable him to properly care for the animals unfortunately.”