Pet rabbit starved to death

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A WOMAN who left her pet rabbit to starve to death has been banned from keeping animals for five years.

The abandoned 18-month-old rabbit, named Smokie, had tried to eat its own faeces in a bid to survive, a court heard.

It was found dead by RSPCA inspectors in a hutch in a garden next door to keeper Emma Webster’s former home in Welbeck Street, Whitwell.

“She said she had kept it in her flat but the landlord asked her to move it outside,” Brian Orsborn, prosecuting, told Chesterfield magistrates.

Webster said she went away for nine days in January and left the female rabbit some food and water but made no arrangements for anyone to look after it.

She texted a neighbour on one occasion, asking her to feed it. The neighbour sent someone else to feed it but it was already dead.

“It was extremely thin and it had tried to seek nutrition from its own waste. She said she thought it would be fine and she was sorry and she wouldn’t be having any more pets,” said Mr Orsborn.

Webster, aged 29, now of Arboretum Square, Derby, admitted failing to ensure the welfare of an animal between December 30 and January 13.

The court heard she had previous convictions for assault on police and racially abusive behaviour and had been locked up in the past.

The bench imposed a one-year probation supervision order, including a six-month alcohol treatment programme, and banned her from keeping animals for five years, with £200 costs.

“She had problems with rent arrears and people were after her. She went to stay with someone for a while to stop people finding her.

“She asked the neighbour to put some food and water out for the rabbit and she was away for longer than anticipated,” said Steve Brint, for Webster.

He said she had relapsed into alcohol abuse last year.