Couple leave 'distressed' animals alone during two-week holiday

Pair banned from keeping pets for 12 years after one cat died

Updated: 

Images of Neglected animals revealed by RSPCA

A couple who left their cats and a dog in disgusting conditions while they went on a two-week holiday have been banned from keeping pets for 12 years.

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Zara Hicks, 37, and husband David James Hicks, 41, were also given suspended prison sentences after one of the cats was found dead, and the other cat and dog found neglected in a dirty kitchen.

The RSPCA visited their home last September after concern was raised about the brown female poodle cross called Honey, a tortoiseshell male called Twitch and a tabby male called Dribble.

Images of Neglected animals revealed by RSPCA

Neglected cat Twitch

Inspectors arrived to discover Dribble already dead, the Surrey Mirror reports.

He had been suffering from a tumour and associated illness, which he had not received veterinary treatment for.

Twitch and Honey were found alive, although both were neglected and distressed.

They were living in a kitchen covered in faeces.

RSPCA chief inspector Kerry Gabriel said: "With the Easter holidays coming up, this case is a reminder to pet owners of the importance of ensuring their animals are safe and cared for when they go away.

"It is not enough to just leave a couple of bowls of food down - dogs, cats and, indeed, all domestic animals, need proper supervision and care.

"In this case one of the cats sadly died while the couple had gone away on their holiday for two weeks, due to lack of veterinary care. This would have been a very lonely and probably painful death, poor thing."

"The other two were very neglected and distressed, and covered in fleas. This was a case of pet owners completely failing to provide the care they should have."

The pair, both of Hemsby Road, Chessington, were sentenced at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court.

They had previously pleaded guilty to not making arrangements to provide adequate care and supervision for their pets, and causing unnecessary suffering to one of the cats by not providing proper and necessary veterinary care.

Both were disqualified from keeping all animals for 12 years and made to pay £400 in costs.

Zara Hicks was given a prison sentence of 20 weeks, suspended for 24 months, and a community order to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

David Hicks was also given a prison sentence of 12 weeks, suspended for 24 months, and a community order of 160 hours of unpaid work.

Honey and Twitch were taken by police and placed into RSPCA care, and have been looked after since.

The court issued a deprivation order so inspectors need to find them new homes soon.


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