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Couple sentenced after failing to care for 11 cats and hiding 4 in a carrier bag

20 Sep 2023 4 minute read
A man and a woman have been in court for failing to care for 11 cats

A man and woman have been sentenced after they failed to care for 11 cats – with four cats being concealed in a shopping bag.

Inside the bag, four cats were found to be concealed in a small cat carrier – expected to carry a single cat – and were discovered by RSPCA deputy chief Gemma Cooper who was driving to the defendant’s property that day.

The cat carrier smelt extremely foul of cat urine and faeces and it was stained yellow.

Inside the cats were urine stained and had fleas. The discovery then led to 11 cats in total being removed due to their needs not being met and were taken into RSPCA care.

David Thomas and Pauline Perry both of Pentwyn Avenue, Mountain Ash, appeared at Merthyr Magistrates’ Court on 5 July, and both pleaded guilty to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act in that they failed to ensure the needs of 11 cats*.

On Wednesday 23 August, Perry was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 10 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

She was also ordered to pay a £50 fine, £250 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. She was also banned from keeping all four limbed animals for four years. Custody of a cat was also transferred to the RSPCA.

On Wednesday 13 September, Thomas was sentenced to a 12 month community order including 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days, ordered to pay £250 costs, a £50 fine, £114 victim surcharge and was banned from keeping cats for four years.

In a written statement from RSPCA deputy chief inspector (DCI) Gemma Cooper provided to the court it was stated that several attempts were made to gain access to the Pentwyn Avenue property – but access was denied.

Multiple cat carriers and cages could be seen in the garden and flies were seen inside the property on the kitchen window.

DCI Cooper said she could smell cat urine she looked through the letterbox.

The court heard how DCI Cooper was driving along Pentwyn Avenue on February 1, 2023 – as she was due to attend the property that day – when she spotted Pauline Perry walking along the street.

DCI Cooper said: “Pauline Perry was walking a brindle lurcher dog I know as Sheba and she was also carrying what looked like a very heavy bag for life.

“It looked heavy because she kept putting it on the floor every ten or so steps. Sheba was wearing a red jacket which covered the majority of her body.

“I wondered whether Pauline Perry was purposely removing Sheba from Pentwyn Avenue before my arrival because she had a health problem she did not want me to see.

“I turned the van around and went and spoke with Pauline Perry who jumped out of her skin when she saw me.

“As I approached Pauline Perry, to my horror, I could hear cats fighting in the bag for life.”

Scratch marks

DCI Cooper asked what she had in there and she replied “cats” and that she didn’t know how many were in there. DCI Cooper also noted that she could see fresh scratch marks on her hands and face.

Perry agreed for DCI Cooper to look at the cats. DCI Cooper said: “The cats were inside a single cat carrier, designed for one small cat or kitten only which had been concealed inside a pink bag for life.

“The cat carrier smelt extremely foul of cat urine and faeces and it was stained yellow. I said to Pauline Perry that I did not feel safe letting them out of the carrier on the main road in case they escaped and so I would like to take them to a vet to inspect them.”

The couple also agreed for the cats to be signed over to the RSPCA and also allowed entry into their home.

DCI Cooper said: “As we entered the house there was the same foul smell of cat urine and faeces which came from the bag hit me and I had to hold my breath.

“We first went upstairs and saw two large animal crates which had been collapsed. We then went into the kitchen where there was cat faeces over the floor, up the walls and on the kitchen cupboards.

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