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Don’t forget your pet when it’s holiday time

There was a reminder from the RSPCA today that owners must provide adequate care for their pets when they go on holiday. Of course, such a reminder should not be necessary, but the case of a couple who left their dog and two cats home alone has highlighted the need for the warning. Unbelievably, three pets were abandoned at home while their owners enjoyed a fortnight’s holiday. The consequences were tragic.

Zara Hicks (date of birth: 20/09/1979), and David James Hicks (date of birth 02/09/1975), both of Hemsby Road, Chessington, Surrey, appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, 22 March after having left their animals unsupervised at home for two weeks.

Sadly, one cat did not survive the ordeal, while the surviving cat and the dog were found in a state of neglect in a filthy kitchen.

The couple 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. They were both banned from keeping all animals for 12 years and given suspended prison sentences. They were also ordered to pay £400 in costs, and David Hicks received a community order of 160 hours of unpaid work.

By the time the RSPCA was contacted about the animals – a brown female poodle cross called Honey, and a tortoiseshell male called Twitch and a tabby male called Dribble – Dribble had died. It was discovered that he had a tumour and associated illness, for which he had not received any veterinary treatment.

Twitch and Honey were found in the kitchen, distressed and 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.”

Honey and Twitch have been placed in the care of the RSPCA, and are now available for rehoming. If you feel moved to give either of them the loving forever home which they deserve, contact the RSPCA.

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