A father-of-four has been convicted of killing a cat in a ‘slow and painful way’.
Ian Smedley, of Blakeney Crescent, Melton, pleaded guilty at Melton Magistrates’ Court to causing the death of his neighbour’s pet by setting a snare.
The 33-year-old, who is serving in the Armed Forces, claimed the plastic loops were attached to the bottom of his garden gate to stop animals getting in, not to kill.
But chairman of the bench, Lady Wendy Goldring, told him: “There were several features about this offence which make it worse. It was pre-meditated and deliberate. You put snares down which we consider to be weapons.”
Smedley’s neighbour discovered their nine-month-old pet cat dead with a noose around his neck at the end of April.
They called the RSPCA and Insp Claire Mitchell discovered and removed another two snares from Smedley’s garden.
The short-haired tabby, called Jim, was exhumed to be examined by vet Craig Johnston who said it was reasonable to assume the cat was killed by the snare tightening as he struggled to free himself.
Kevin McCole, prosecuting for the RSPCA, read Mr Johnston’s report. He said: “It was slow and exhausting. This is a most cruel and painful way for any animal to die.”
Insp Mitchell interviewed Smedley who said it was never his intention to kill but he was fed up with cats fouling in his garden. Smedley added he was worried about his unborn baby’s health when a cat got in the house and urinated on a mattress.
Mr McCole, reading the interview, said: “I hadn’t intended to kill it. If I had wanted to kill it I would have shot it with an air rifle.”
Smedley added he had seen enough death in his job, but if he caught a cat in his house he would treat it as vermin.
In mitigation, Smedley, who represented himself, said: “It was never set as a snare. However, I should have realised it could cause harm to a cat. For that I apologise sincerely.”
Smedley was sentenced to 150 hours’ unpaid community service, to be completed within a year, ordered to pay £250 costs and banned from keeping animals for five years.
Speaking outside court, Insp Mitchell said: “I am pleased. I think it is a fair punishment and I hope it’s a suitable deterrent to prevent him from doing it again in the future.”
Posted: 13 December 2007 – Melton Times & Citizen