Pet rabbit left to starve to death

A rabbit was left to starve to death in its hutch by a Belper man.

Magistrates found Daniel Peat, guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the black rabbit found on September 23 in a hutch behind a house on Nottingham Road, Belper.

Peat, who has lived at ten addresses in two years, failed to attend the Derby court hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

John Sutcliffe, prosecuting, said nobody was in when a RSPCA inspector called at the home, which had been left open. He had called to investigate concerns about a rabbit and found it dead in a wooden hutch.

Its water bottle was empty and the food bowl was upside down. It was “completely devoid of food,” said Mr Sutcliffe.

The inspector removed the body of the rabbit, which appeared to be “very thin,” for an examination by a vet.

Mr Sutcliffe told the court: ”The vet found nothing clinically wrong with the rabbit at all. The death had been caused simply by non-nutrition.”

The vet was unable to say how long the rabbit had been left but it was at least “seven days and probably considerably longer.”

Peat was later questioned, Mr Sutcliffe told magistrates. “He said he was gutted and conceded the rabbit must have suffered horribly before it died.

“He said he was joint owner of the rabbit with his son. The son was aged two. He was responsible for the daily care and feeding of the rabbit,” added Mr Sutcliffe. Peat said they owned it for two months.

Magistrates issued a warrant for the arrest of Peat, whose last address given to the court as Maple Drive, Belper.

The RSPCA also had an address for him in Mablethorpe, in Lincolnshire, the court was told.