Three unfortunate kittens died after their ignorant owner allowed a severe and chronic flea infestation to “literally suck the life out of them”, a court heard.
Cruel Angela Tennant, 48, ignored the ill health of the litter of cats. One kitten had already collapsed when the RSPCA arrived.
Despite attempts to revive the tiny cat, she had to be put to sleep and two more female kittens died shortly later.
RSPCA inspector Rachel Evans said it was clear to anyone that these kitten were severely neglected, as was the adult cat, their mother.
Ms Evans said: “One of the kittens was listless and gasping for breath when I arrived and, although she was placed on oxygen at the vets, there was nothing more that could be done.”
Leeds Magistrates Court, West Yorkshire, described how the kittens were literally “crawling with fleas”.
Ms Evans said: “When the vet put flea treatment on their bodies, the fleas were trying to escape it by running up their noses and in their eyes and ears.”
“Fleas suck blood which causes the animals they infest to become anemic.”
“This is particularly dangerous for young animals – they literally suck the life out of them.”
Just two bigger and stronger male kittens survived along with their mom, Tilly.
The court heard Tennant had a litter of kittens from Tilly the previous year and that all had died or had to be put to sleep in the same circumstances.
Tennant pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to five kittens and an adult female cat between 1-14 July last year.
Tennant was disqualified from keeping animals for only one year, given a 12 month community order including 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £750 in costs.
Tilly was subsequently taken from her with the surviving kittens having already been adopted.
Ms Evans said: “This situation was entirely preventable, in fact, this was the second time it had happened which is inexcusable.”
“Flea treatment is part of every responsible pet owner’s routine and if what you’re using isn’t working you take them to the vets.”
“Severe flea infestations can kill, as happened here once before.”