Harlow woman Sharon Jolley fined for cruelty to rabbit

Communities / Tue 8th Jul 2014 at 02:39pm

A HARLOW woman was disqualified from keeping rabbits for life after her rabbit was found emaciated with teeth so overgrown that they protruded at least two inches from his mouth. Sharon Jolley, (DOB 17.06.70) of Hillside, Harlow, Essex had previously pleaded guilty at Colchester Magistrates’ Court to causing unnecessary suffering to her white and brown male rabbit Buzz by failing to get his teeth trimmed on 10 June

She was sentenced on Friday (July 4) and as well as the ban made to pay costs of £1,081 and given a 12 month community order with 160 hours of unpaid work.

The three-year-old rabbit was discovered by the RSPCA in October 2013, when his bottom teeth had grown so large that they protruded more than two inches from his mouth, and two of his the top teeth were broken and another curled inwards by an inch. He was taken into an RSPCA clinic by another member of the family who had been caring for him when Jolley was away on holiday

Buzz was also found to have been living in an unclean environment covered with faeces and was extremely thin and dehydrated. He had been seen by a vet earlier in May 2013, but not in the five months after this.

Very sadly, Buzz was found to be in such a bad state that he had to be put to sleep to end his suffering.

RSPCA inspector Rosie Russon said: “I have never seen teeth like this on a rabbit in the 15 years I have worked for the RSPCA.

“They were massively overgrown and protruded further than I thought possible – it was a truly shocking sight.

“The poor animal was also extremely emaciated. He was collapsed and dying when he was brought to us. The vet said he wouldn’t have had enough to eat or drink for quite some time and is likely to have been starved and dehydrated prior to death over several months.

“This poor rabbit was just left to endure prolonged suffering in silence – left in his hutch and then completely ignored. It may be an extreme case, but rabbits are complex animals to care for and ignorance about the welfare of rabbits and what is needed to look after them is unfortunately something we see quite a lot.”

Rabbits have continuously growing teeth. They should have constant access to hay and/or fresh grass, as these can help wear down their teeth.

The RSPCA recommends that their teeth and claws are checked at least once a week. Only a vet should correct overgrown or misaligned teeth.

For more information about how to care for rabbits please visit: http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rabbits

If you would like to help the RSPCA care for the many rabbits in our care, please visit http://choices.rspca.org.uk/Appeal/small-furry-friends

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