Cat owner may face jail term

A CAT owner who left her pet’s infection fester to the point where the animal had to be put down could face prison or a hefty fine.

Clare Todd’s cat Haydes ran away from home a year ago but returned to her neighbour’s garden with serious injuries from a cat fight.

The 31-year-old said she would get the unneutered male cat help, but failed to treat the abscesses that formed on its face and head.

Vets had to put the animal down five days later when the RSPCA were informed of the situation and visited Todd’s home in Dunoon Road, Hartlepool, to help the animal.

Todd admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal between February 3 and February 7 at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court.

Justices were shown gruesome photos of the cat’s injuries, with RSPCA prosecutor John Ellwood warning about the “distressing” nature of the images, which are too horrific for us to print.

He told the court that punishment for the neglect Todd has shown can reach up to six months in prison or a £20,000 fine.

He added: “This cat suffered a dreadful injury.

“Haydes was suffering from multiple abscesses and pus was coming from the abscesses.

“So bad were the injuries that the cat had to be euthanised on February 8.

“The vet said that in her opinion, had the cat received treatment, the abscesses would have been much less severe and easier to treat. It’s very likely the cat would have recovered from its injuries, but it’s not guaranteed.”

He added that RSPCA costs in dealing with the matter, covering vet bills and investigation and prosecution costs, have so far almost reached £1,000.

Adrian Morris, mitigating, said Todd was uncertain if the cat her neighbour had found was Haydes as she had not seen him for so long.

He added: “She admits that she did say she would make appropriate arrangements.

“But she has a six-month-old dog and a seven-year-old dog. That night one of them took a fit and needed a period of observation.

“Treatment for the cat went to the back of her mind, and she accepts there is no excuse for that.”

Todd will be back in court on May 29 to be sentenced after magistrates asked for pre-sentence reports to be prepared.