Woman fined £1,000 in court for cruelty to rabbit found starving and with overgrown teeth

Buzz the rabbit had to be put down by vets in Essex

A woman whose neglected rabbit had to be put down after its teeth grew more than two inches out of its mouth has been ordered to pay more than £1,000.

Sharon Jolley, 44, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty at Colchester Magistrates’ Court and was banned from keeping rabbits for life on Friday.

As well as paying costs of £1,081, she was ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work.

Jolley, of Hillside, Harlow, was away on holiday when a family member caring for the rabbit took it to an RSPCA clinic in October 2013.

Buzz, a white and brown male rabbit, was emaciated, dehydrated covered in faeces and had not been seen by a vet for five months.

His bottom teeth had grown so large that they protruded more than two inches from his mouth, while two of his the top teeth were broken and another curled inwards by an inch, the RSPCA said.

Buzz the rabbit had to be put to sleep Buzz the rabbit had to be put to sleep Rosie Russon, an RSPCA inspector, said she had never seen anything like it in 15 years working for the animal charity.

She added:  “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.”

Buzz was put down by vets to end his suffering.

Jolley was charged under the Animal Welfare Act with failing to ensure the pet’s needs were met and causing the rabbit unnecessary suffering by not trimming his teeth.

“This poor rabbit was just left to endure prolonged suffering in silence – left in his hutch and then completely ignored,” Ms Russon said.

“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 and hay and fresh grass help wear them down naturally.

The RSPCA recommends that their teeth and claws are checked at least once a week.

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