A cruel thug fatally injured a cat and then dumped it alive in a wheelie bin to be taken away by refuse collectors, a court has heard.
Chester the 12-month-old tabby cat was alive as he was carried away like a piece of rubbish by supermarket worker Paul Woolston and died imprisoned under the bin lid, magistrates were told.
The animal’s former owner said it was “disgraceful” that Woolston escaped a custodial sentence after magistrates accepted his case that he caused the cat’s death by throwing it underarm - even though a vet attended court to give evidence that it would not have been sufficient to kill it.
Two traumatised schoolboys watched as Woolston, 42, threw Chester into the street, but it is claimed he also kicked him and dashed his head against the wall of a mosque. One of them filmed him from his bedroom window carrying the twitching cat away to dump in the bin.
Teesside magistrates were told he and his wife Vicky were given the young cat as they promised it would be given a loving home.
Prosecutor John Ellwood said: “This defendant, for whatever reason, threw a cat, did not check if it was dead, did not check what was wrong with it, just threw it into a wheelie bin to die a pretty miserable death.”
Andrew Teat, for Woolston, of Sheriff Street, Hartlepool, said he did not accept kicking or injuring the cat other than by throwing him.
The magistrates allowed him to plead guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the animal on that basis because the kicks and other blows would not have influenced the sentence.
A vet attended court to give evidence in a trial of issue and would have said Chester couldn’t have died as Woolston described, but the bench chose not to hold a hearing to determine the exact facts and her account wasn’t heard.
Woolston received a 12-month community order with 250 hours of unpaid work and was banned from keeping animals for five years. He must also pay £85 costs and an £85 court charge.
Former pet shop owner owner Gill Smith, 56, says she desperately regrets homing Chester with with Woolstons. She said: “It sickens me to think how much pain and suffering he must have gone through before he was just thrown into the bin.”
Afterwards Woolston said: “I have been targeted over this, I’ve had to move house and I’ve lost my job at Asda because of it.”