Lutterworth couple Caroline and Craig Topham who let rabbit suffer are given pets ban
A couple who neglected a rabbit so severely it had to be put to sleep have been barred from keeping animals for five years.
Female rabbit Jack suffered severe urine scalding to all four paws and lost most of its facial fur while in the care of its owner's mother, Caroline Topham (47), and her husband, Craig Topham (49).
The couple pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates' Court to causing unnecessary suffering to the adult grey rabbit by failing to seek veterinary treatment between October 24 and November 14 last year at their flat in Maple Drive, Lutterworth.
Kevin McCole, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said Jack's owner had moved out two years before and had left her pet in the care of her mother.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
But on November 12, the owner was told by her sister that the rabbit was in a very poor condition, with no fur on its face.
The owner spoke to her mother who told her she had taken Jack to the vet to be treated for mites.
The owner contacted the local vet who told her the rabbit had not been taken in, so she took the animal to a vet in Broughton Astley herself.
"An examination was carried out and the rabbit was found with a very poor body condition and was uncomfortable," said Mr McCole.
"Its face had lost most of its fur and putrescent pus was discharged from its eyes, indicating blocking of its tear ducts.
"There were large sores on all four feet with deep infections and the bone was exposed.
"The animal was suffering and in pain."
Mr McCole said Jack's owner agreed that the only solution was to put the rabbit to sleep.
When interviewed, Caroline Topham said she was happy to keep the rabbit for her daughter and that her husband was in charge of cleaning and feeding it.
She said the animal did not like to be taken out of the cage or being handled and "would bite".
Craig Topham said he cleaned the cage out every week and fed Jack daily.
He agreed the animal did not like being handled and, when he cleaned out its cage, it would move from one side of the cage to the other.
"She was constantly scratching but her face got better, then worse," he said. "I thought it was mites."
Caroline Topham, in tears, told the court she was sorry about what had happened and she accepted she should have taken better care of the rabbit.
"We have no car and, with a toddler in a buggy, could not take the rabbit to the vet," she said.
She said she acknowledged that she would be disqualified from keeping animals.
"That would be the right thing to do."
As well being disqualified, they were each fined £150 with a £20 victim surcharge.