A WOMAN who let her pets go without food and water is behind bars.
Jacqueline Jackson was sentenced to eight weeks in prison on four counts of cruelty to animals.
The 37-year-old neglected five pets, one of which had to be put down, Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard.
Police went to Jackson’s home in Conway Road, Hylton Castle, just after 6.30am on June 28, for another matter, but when they opened the unlocked door they were greeted by “an overpowering smell”.
Three cats were found in the house, as well as a greyhound dog, which had no access to food or water.
A malnourished ferret, which was 50 per cent under its correct body weight, was discovered in a garden shed surrounded by pheasant feathers, and what appeared to be a deer’s skull.
RSPCA prosecutor Denise Jackman told the court: “Police found dog faeces on the floor around the house, rubbish lying around and sharp objects which, if swallowed by the animals, could have injured, or even killed them.
“A vet examined them and signed a certificate to say that they had suffered under the Animal Welfare Act.”
Jackson arrived home shouting and swearing, and RSPCA officers took the animals into care.
Magistrates heard the charity has spent £2,184 on housing the animals.
One of the cats had to be put down, while another had an ear infection so severe, it caused bleeding to the ear canal.
The ferret had no body fat, which could have been fatal, the court heard.
Jackson pleaded not guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and two counts of failing to ensure their welfare last year.
However, she failed to turn up for her trial in December, and was found guilty in her absence.
She was eventually sentenced last week and as well as being sent to prison was banned from looking after any animals for five years.
Her pets are now in the care of the RSPCA.