A Hailsham woman has been banned from keeping animals for five years after starving two pigs to death.
Nicola Patten, 48, of Court Lodge Close, Hailsham was also made to pay £250 costs, given a community order of 12 months with 12 months suspension, and made to do 160 hours unpaid work at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday August 27.
She was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to two male pot-bellied pigs by failing to investigate their underweight conditions and provide them with a suitable environment.
The RSPCA was called in September 2013 after a member of the public spotted the pigs in an alleyway by Patten’s previous address in Western Road and was very concerned about the state they were in.
“When we arrived we found one pig was already dead and the other collapsed. There was no shelter, bedding, food or water nearby,” said a spokesperson.
Both animals were taken to a vet who described them as emaciated, and advised the second be put to sleep to end his suffering.
A post-mortem of the bodies found there was no food in the pigs’ stomachs at all.
RSPCA inspector Andrew Kirby said, “This was a heartbreaking case of serious neglect which led to much suffering for these poor animals.
“It was as if these pigs were just completely forgotten about and left to starve to death in a cold alleyway without any of the comforts they needed to survive. They were in appalling condition when we found them, and must have been suffering.”
Pigs are highly intelligent, social animals who prefer to be in the company of other pigs.
They need to be given the right care and not kept inside a person’s house and also need to be treated by a vet who is knowledgeable about the breed.
They need plenty of space outside and things to occupy them as well as a suitable shelter.
You can find more information on the requirements for ensuring the welfare of a pig and the many legal requirements at: http://www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/pets/farmanimals/pigs.