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Northamptonshire teenager kicked cat to death and then set fire to it after pet scratched him

Website: Northampton Chronicle and Echo
Date: 03/02/2015
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A 19-year-old man from Northamptonshire who caused “extreme pain and suffering” to a cat after he kicked it in the head and then set fire to it has avoided a jail sentence.

The man, aged 19, of Nether Heyford, has been given a 12-week suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a cat that he kicked several times while wearing steel toe-capped boots.

Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard the cat, which belonged to the owners of a farm where the man was living, suffered broken bones, fractures, internal bleeding in the head and a severed spinal cord.

Janita Patel, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “We can confidently say that this cat suffered extreme pain and suffering and was most likely still conscious after the first kick.

“This could have left it paralysed which would have increased its fear and anxiety.

“A gentle kick to the head would not have caused this. Extreme force must have been used with an intent to injure.”

The court heard that, in his first interview about the incident, the man. who works as a landscape gardner, said he had “kicked the cat about three times” and did not intend to cause it serious injury.

Hayley Pearson, mitigating, said her client regretted his actions and was extremely remorseful.

She said: “It was a moment of madness and he does not remember putting the cat on a lit fire.

“He had drunk a whole bottle of Jack Daniels and had had an argument with his mother who he had helped to build a house for. Then the cat scratched him and he lost it.”

Mrs Pearson said that the man was taken in to the farm by the Jesus Army Christian church which was still fully supporting him and helping him on his ‘Christian walk’.

District Judge Tim Daber said it was “completely incredible” that someone would take their anger out on a defenceless animal.

He said: “Neither arguments, drinking or scratches are any excuse whatsoever. It shows incredible cruelty.

“It is a very close call but your age, remorse and record for making positive contributions to the community have persuaded me to just keep you out of prison on this occasion.”

The man was banned from owning any sort of animal for 10 years and was ordered to pay almost £2,500 in court costs. He was also ordered to pay £2,353.15 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £80.