AN OLDBURY man who let two cats starve to death has been banned from keeping animals for life.

RSPCA inspectors found two dead cats at the flat of Christian Van Souwe in Hackwood House, Hartlebury Road, Oldbury, after concerns were raised.

They also found an emaciated but alive cat Abbarth who had resorted to eating foam to stay alive, alongside the dead cats, Homer and Azrael.

Fifty-five-year-old Van Souwe was banned from keeping animals for life and sentenced to ten weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, at Dudley Magistrates Court earlier this month, following an investigation and prosecution by the RSPCA.

The News has decided not to print pictures of the deceased black cats as they are too distressing.

RSPCA Inspector Vicki Taylor, said: “Pieces of black foam matting were seen in vomit passed by Abbarth.

"The irregular edges and bite marks present in the foam suggested the pieces had been chewed off a larger foam mat, of which the material is inedible and has no nutritional value.

"It is possible this material was ingested due to a lack of alternative food sources.

“Veterinary findings from all three cats were supportive of the owner failing to provide adequate nutrition, resulting in the emaciation of Abbarth, and the deaths of Homer and Azrael through starvation and starvation-induced disease."

She added: “Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is the duty of the person responsible for an animal to ensure its welfare needs are met, including its need for a suitable diet, and its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

"The suffering endured by these cats could have been avoided by the owner taking reasonable steps to ensure fresh food and water was offered daily to the cats.”

In mitigation, it was said Van Souwe was experiencing mental health issues and that his partner was suffering from ill health and in hospital.

Halesowen News:

Pic: The cats were found in Van Souwe's flat in this block (pictured Google)

Alongside the ten-week suspended prison sentence, he was ordered to carry out up to 24 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and pay costs of £500 and a £115 victim surcharge.

He can not appeal his lifetime ban for five years.

Black and white female cat Abbarth has since recovered from her horrifying ordeal and has been found a new home by the RSPCA.