Guinea pigs starved to death in Padiham: court case

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Two guinea pigs starved to death at a family home in Padiham after they were put in an outdoor hutch with a rabbit, a court heard.

Burnley magistrates were told the pair of Albinos were found lifeless and emaciated by an RSPCA inspector and a vet said they would have suffered for 10 days, possibly longer.

Layla Lockwood (33) and her husband, Peter Lockwood (43), of Malvern Avenue, could have been cautioned over the deaths but were prosecuted as they showed no remorse or acceptance they had done anything wrong when interviewed by the animal charity.

Both were accused of causing unnecessary suffering to the two white guinea pigs, between October 25th and November 4th, by failing to investigate and address the causes of their poor body condition and weight loss.

The pair, who also have dogs and a ferret, did not attend court and the case against them was proved in their absence. The Bench issued a warrant with bail in order to sentence them.

RSPCA prosecutor Christopher Wyatt said, last September, an inspector went to the property regarding a dog with an injured leg. Nobody was in, but in the back yard, she saw a hutch with a rabbit and two guinea pigs in. There was no hay or food and their drinking water was dirty. She posted a note through the door, requesting contact with the charity.

Another inspector followed up the visit on November 4th and could see the hutch, which was open to the elements. There was no food or bedding and the guinea pigs were dead. The rabbit was still in the cage as well. The dead animals were sent to Liverpool University for a postmortem and were found to have starved.

Mr Wyatt said both defendants were interviewed on January 12th. Mr Lockwood conceded the rabbit must have be eating all the food. Mrs Lockwood said she had not noticed the guinea pigs were underweight or the rabbit pushing the animals around.

Mr Wyatt added: “When they were interviewed, there was no remorse or acceptance they had done anything wrong.”