A COVENTRY woman who neglected a cat who died and left a ‘skeletal’ dog close to death has been avoided jail.
Kimberley Anne King, aged 33, of Thompsons Road, Coventry, was given a 12-weeks suspended jail sentence after she failed to attend court and was found guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to both pets at Coventry Magistrates’ Court.
Her Staffordshire Bull Terrier Shyla was so weak and emaciated she struggled to stand but has gone on to make an amazing recovery in RSPCA care.
The body of her emaciated cat called Misty was found buried in the garden of her home.
The court heard how the RSPCA were called to investigate following reports by a member of the public who was concerned about the cat’s health.
Animal rescuer, inspector Nicola Johnson visited King’s address on January 7 last year and asked to see the cat, aged two, but was told she had been found dead three days before and was buried in the garden.
Nicola wanted to retrieve the body that evening so it could be examined by a vet but King told her to return the following day during daylight.
The next day on her visit to the house King asked if Ms Johnson had room in her RSPCA van to take away a dog. King only then told her she had a pet dog which had become ill and she thought it was because she had been missing the cat.
The inspector was taken to see the four-year-old dog called Shyla who was in the kitchen of the house – shaking and barely able to stand.
In her statement Ms Johnson said: “Shyla was in very thin bodily condition. I could see the outline of Shyla’s skeleton underneath her skin.
“Shyla was standing up but her legs and body were shaking and her head pressed against a piece of furniture.
It was obvious Shyla was very ill and in desperate need of veterinary attention.
“I saw Shyla stagger around the kitchen, having to use the walls to lean against to keep herself upright before falling to the floor.”
The inspector was given permission by King to rush the dog to The Vet Centre, Daventry Road, Coventry, for emergency treatment.
She had to carry Shyla to her van as she was too weak to walk while an RSPCA colleague, inspector Helen Smith, retrieved Misty’s body from the garden.
The vet described Shyla as ‘starving and close to death’ and on a body score rating of one to nine (9 being healthy) Shyla was graded as one with severe muscle wastage with bones prominent .
The body of Misty was also examined and was described as ‘chronically emaciated’ and rated with the same body score of one.
The vet also found pieces of plastic in the cat’s stomach suggesting she had been scavenging for food.
In a statement the vet said: “Shyla was suffering unnecessarily from neglect and starvation, her welfare needs were not met, she was incredibly close to death, showing hypoglycemia and neurological signs as a result of severe malnutrition.
“Based on how Shyla and the cat presented, I believe that they both would have been suffering for at least two weeks duration.
“The level of starvation and malnutrition would not have occurred in less time than this.”
After initial treatment Shyla was then transferred to the PDSA, in Barkers Butt Lane, to provide ongoing care until she was strong enough to be transported to the RSPCA’s Newbrook Animal Hospital in Birmingham on January 10.
During her interview King said she had been away from the property from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day and the pets were left unattended.
She also said she didn’t realise how thin Misty, an indoor cat, was at the time of her death. She said Shyla became ill after the cat died and added she did not seek help for the dog when the RSPCA first visited as she was in shock.
Shyla was returned to health and a normal weight with a proper feeding regime.
When Ms Johnson visited her just two weeks later on January 24 she took a video clip of her which showed how much she had improved in her condition and demeanor from when she was first taken to the vets.
Shyla was then put up for adoption and has been rehomed by the RSPCA’s Coventry and District branch.
Ms Johnson said: “Both pets had been left to suffer through starvation and there is never an excuse not to feed your pets.
“Poor Misty didn’t survive and Shyla was very close to death – but I am so pleased she has made a remarkable recovery.
“I am very grateful to the vets and PDSA who assisted in this team effort to help Shyla. She has put on a lot of weight and is now enjoying life in her new home.”
As well as the suspended sentence and a ban on keeping animals for 10 years, King was also ordered to pay £200 costs and a £122 victim surcharge by magistrates at the hearing on December 23.