Friday, December 9, 2016

United Kingdom: Karen Whittingham, 44, left her cats left to starve to death in abandoned, trashed home

UNITED KINGDOM -- A starving kitten was found dead with its head down a toilet as it desperately tried to get a drink after being abandoned to 'suffer immensely'.

A second cat was found starved to death in the squalid house that was littered with rubbish and feces and 'smelled horrific'.

The poor pets were discovered at a home in Stourbridge, West Midlands, in March when a member of the public spotted one of the dead bodies though a window.

How long did this little cat struggle, trying to get free
before finally dying after Karen Whittingham abandoned him?

A police officer and an RSPCA inspector found the second cat's body, trapped under the lid of the toilet, and both animals are believed to have been left without food for weeks.

Owner Karen Whittingham, 44, was sentenced at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Wednesday for causing unnecessary suffering to the two cats by failing to feed them, and for failing to ensure the cats were housed in a suitable environment.

Whittingham, an amateur actress and regular performer in Dudley Little Theatre’s shows, of Kingswinford, West Midlands, was found guilty of the three offences in her absence at an earlier hearing in August this year.

She was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £500 and an £85 victim surcharge.

An order was also made for any other animals in her care to be removed and she was told she would not have the option to appeal the ban on keeping pets for at least ten years.

RSPCA inspector Paul Seddon said: 'I've been an inspector for 34 years and I am still haunted by the image of the cat in the toilet. Both cats were clearly emaciated and [it looks like] the cat tried to get into the toilet [because it was so desperate for water and the weight of the toilet lid trapped him and he was too weak to wriggle free and died like that].

'There was no evidence of food or water being left in the house at all. The house was in a total state of disarray - there were bottles, cans, papers and general household rubbish scattered around in heaps on the floor.

'There were also several overflowing cat litter trays and feces all over the floor. The smell was horrific. These two poor cats would have suffered immensely before they died - there is no excuse to leave an animal to die in this way.'

Ms Whittingham, aged 44, told the court she was admitted to hospital with kidney stones and a prolapsed disc, in "excruciating pain", prior to the cats being found dead.

Rafe Turner, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, however, said she made no arrangements for the animals to be looked after while she was in Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital on February 19 and 20 and from February 22 to 28 and she didn't go back to check on the cats after she was discharged.

Karen Whittingham is a LIAR
Whittingham, now living in Winford Avenue, Kingswinford, told the court she had been unable to call anyone as there was no phone signal in the hospital and she had relied on a friend to contact her landlord.

She said she remained in "discomfort" with the back problem after being discharged.

Mr Turner told the court Ms Whittingham said she had been returning to the property every other day prior to her emergency hospital admissions but she admitted she didn’t return to check on the cats after being discharged and he said she had in fact returned to work.

He said: "It would have been evident to a reasonably competent person that leaving two cats without food and water would result in hunger, thirst, starvation and death. The vet concluded both cats suffered unnecessarily."

Representing herself in court, she sobbed as she said: "I’ve never been and never would be cruel to animals in my life."

Ms Whittingham said after the case she was under the impression the RSPCA were not going to press for a prosecution as there were "extremely extenuating circumstances" and she claims she never received any correspondence or information informing her she was being taken to court.

She said: "They decided in my absence that l was guilty. I didn't receive any letter telling me l had to attend court previously, nor was any card pushed through the door with a special delivery notification."

(Daily Mail - Dec 8, 2016)

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