The RSPCA is reminding owners to provide for their pets when they go away after a Surrey couple went on a two-week holiday and left their two cats and a dog home alone without supervision or care.

The husband and wife were banned from keeping animals and given suspended prison sentences after one of the cats was found dead, and the other cat and dog found neglected in a dirty kitchen.

Zara Hicks (date of birth: ​20/09/1979), and David James Hicks (date of birth 02/09/1975), both of Hemsby Road, Chessington, Surrey, appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 22 March. They had previously pleaded guilty (on 22 February) to not making arrangements to provide adequate care and supervision for their pets, and causing unnecessary suffering to one of the cats by not providing proper and necessary veterinary care.

Both were disqualified from keeping all animals for 12 years and made to pay £400 in costs. Zara Hicks was also given a prison sentence of 20 weeks, suspended for 24 months, and a community order to do 200 hours of unpaid work. David Hicks was also given a prison sentence of 12 weeks, suspended for 24 months, and a community order of 160 hours of unpaid work.

The RSPCA visited their Surrey home in September after concern was raised to us about the brown female poodle cross called Honey, and a tortoiseshell male called Twitch and a tabby male called Dribble.

We arrived to discover Dribble already dead. He had been suffering from a tumour and associated illness which he had not received veterinary treatment for.

Twitch and Honey were neglected and distressed, but alive, living in a kitchen covered in faeces.

RSPCA chief inspector Kerry Gabriel said: “With the Easter holidays coming up, this case is a reminder to pet owners of the importance of ensuring their animals are safe and cared for when they go away.

“It is not enough to just leave a couple of bowls of food down – dogs, cats and, indeed, all domestic animals, need proper supervision and care.

“In this case one of the cats sadly died while the couple had gone away on their holiday for two weeks, due to lack of veterinary care. This would have been a very lonely and probably painful death, poor thing.

“The other two were very neglected and distressed, and covered in fleas. This was a case of pet owners completely failing to provide the care they should have.”

Honey and Twitch were taken by police and placed into RSPCA care, and we have looked after them ever since. The court issued a deprivation order so it is hoped we can find them new homes soon.

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