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Woman had 17 cats despite animal ban

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 04, 2013

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A CARER banned from keeping animals for 10 years was found living with 17 cats after they "bred uncontrollably".

All the cats were infested with fleas and four of the ten kittens had eye infections, which had not been treated by a vet when the RSCPA learnt unemployed Deborah Jayne Thomson had housed them, a court heard.

Thomson, of Resugga Green, Penwithick, had already been banned for ten years in November 2010 from keeping animals after causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier dog.

However, Thomson, who was before magistrates at Truro on Friday, admitted keeping the animals and breaching the order, causing unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure their welfare.

Magistrates banned Thomson for a further ten years from keeping animals, ordering she not be allowed to ask for a reduction until she has served five years of the disqualification.

She was also ordered to pay £75 for breaching the order.

Thomson, who now lives in a caravan, said she had heard 'a sob story' which had compelled her to take in the first cat and the situation had escalated from there.

RSPCA inspectors learnt about the offences in July while Thomson was caring for her mother at Treningle View, Bodmin.

John Wyatt, prosecutor for the RSPCA, said Thomson had breached the order "very quickly" when she admitted in interview that she had taken in the first cat back in February 2011 – three months after the ban had been imposed. But the situation had escalated when the "cats bred uncontrollably" and Thomson did not know what to do.

He said when the cats were removed Thomson seemed "somewhat relieved" to have the problem taken away.

Mr Wyatt added that the problem was compounded by the fact four of the kittens had bad eye ulcers, which instead of realising needed the treatment of a vet, Thomson had decided to treat with tea bags and wipes.

"Generally all 17 had serious flea infestations", he said.

"She was in breach of the disqualification within a matter of three to four months and the problems were allowed to compound themselves.

"There were 17 cats in the house in not a very healthy state," Mr Wyatt said.

He said although it was a serious matter Thomson had co-operated with the RSCPA.

Thomson, who represented herself, said: "I have not got a real explanation just that I was stupid.

"I heard a sob story of a cat and that is how it all started."

Thomson added she was too frightened to contact to the RSPCA when the number of felines soared because she knew she was banned and feared she would be punished again.

"I do understand I should not have done what I did."

Thomson must also pay £50 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, RSPCA inspector Jon Phipps said: "The RSCPA does not disqualify people, the court does and by breaching the disqualification order you're going against the court.

"I hope she now understands the severity of that and should she do it again the consequences will be even more serious.

"All of the cats have done very well and most have been rehomed already."

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  • JeremyBadger  |  December 04 2013, 2:11PM

    Probably the Magistrates should have asked for a psychiatric report before sentencing on this occasion.

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