March 2023

Bradford woman who starved cats to death banned from keeping animals

A woman who starved two cats to death has been banned from keeping animals.

RSPCA inspectors found one of Bernadette Gallivan’s pet cats dead in the bathroom sink and another wedged between a set of drawers in her Bradford house.

Her badly emaciated Jack Russell dog was rescued after it survived by chewing its way through food packets.

Leeds magistrates prohibited Gallivan, 47, from keeping animals for at least 10 years.

The RSPCA and police forced entry to her home in Carr Street in January 2022 after concerns were raised about the welfare of her pets.

Gallivan had moved out to live with a friend half a mile away and had not returned to feed her pets despite working in a nearby cafe, the animal welfare charity said.

Her dog, Edie, was found shut in the property’s kitchen surrounded by chewed plastic, takeaway cartons and bowls, none of which contained any food or water.

The Jack Russell, which the RSPCA said “appeared petrified”, had suffered so much muscle wastage its ribs, spine and pelvic bones were clearly visible.

Gallivan’s two cats, Bentley and Mischief, were found dead surrounded by mounds of rubbish, faeces, empty cans and bottles, and heavily soiled litter trays.

A post-mortem examination discovered Bentley had plastic in his stomach which the RSPCA believed he had eaten in a desperate bid to stay alive.

The inspector who found him in the sink said it was a “deeply saddening and distressing sight”.

The RSPCA said starvation was “highly likely the cause of death” for both cats.

It is believed the three animals had not been fed for “a prolonged period” of “at least two weeks, probably longer,” the charity said.

The charity said Edie, who weighed just 3.9kg when she was rescued, had been “found just in time”. After six weeks in the care of the RSPCA’s Halifax, Huddersfield, Bradford and District branch, her weight had increased to 6.8kg.

Gallivan, now of Saxton Avenue, pleaded guilty in December to three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and one charge of failing to ensure the needs of protected animals.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard she had been struggling with health problems at the time of the offences.

At a sentencing hearing last Thursday, she was given a 12-month community order, with the requirement to carry out 20 days of rehabilitation activity.

Edie has recovered well and is now living in “a lovely new home”, the RSPCA said.