A man from County Durham has been given a suspended prison sentence and disqualified from keeping animals after admitting causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of three kittens – one of who was found dead.


Matthew Dennis Parker (D.O.B 22.06.93) of Newton Street, Ferryhill appeared before Teesside Magistrates’ Court for sentencing last month (Friday 25 January).Thor in window


He pleaded guilty to (1) causing unnecessary suffering to Thor, Belle and Tigger by failing to investigate and address their poor body conditions over a two-week period in November and (2) failing to meet their needs by failing to provide adequate care and supervision over three days.


The RSPCA called police to his address on 18 November after establishing that he hadn’t been back to his house to attend to the kittens since at least the 15 November.


RSPCA inspector Clare Wilson said: “We had seen two kittens – Thor and Belle – on the windowsill of what we assumed was a bedroom upstairs, and they didn’t seem to have access to the rest of the house.


“When officers went in they found the kittens shut in.


“Tragically, a third kitten, Tigger, was found dead on the bed.


“All three of them were literally skin and bones but fortunately, with a lot of TLC, Thor and Belle have gone on to make a full recovery and have been rehomed.”


In mitigation the court heard that Parker was working a lot of hours at the time and thought he had left enough food for the kittens. They were told the last thing he wanted was to cause them suffering and regretted what had happened.


He was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work, 20 rehabilitation days and to pay £300 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. He was disqualified from keeping animals for 20 years.


Inspector Wilson said: “We are seeing more and more people leaving their pets unattended for long periods. Not only is this unacceptable, it is against the law. If you must leave your pet unattended for more than 24 hours you must make arrangements for a responsible person to care for them in your absence.


“As this very sad case demonstrates, the consequences can be heartbreaking.”