A tiny kitten which died after receiving ‘blunt-force’ injuries to its head and abdomen has led to a Burgess Hill man being banned for life from keeping animals.
The 48-year-old man was also given a suspended jail sentence after his 11-week-old ginger kitten called Tiny Tim died following his injuries.
Leading Horsham-based animal charity the RSPCA revealed this week how it was called out just before Christmas 2015 and found the little cat with horrific injuries.
Tiny Tim was rushed to a vets where he was found to have suffered what were described as ‘blunt force’ injuries and had to be put down.
RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley said : “A vet said that there had been intentional injuries to this tiny little animal which would have required ‘significant external force’ to cause the damage they did. They said this was likely to have happened hours before his death.
“These injuries led to the premature death of this very young animal - whose life was just too short. It is incredibly sad.”
As well as the life ban, the man was also sentenced to a 10-week prison sentence, suspended for a year; a 20-day rehabilitation order; and made to pay £425 costs at Worthing Magistrates’ Court.
He had previously pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences of failing to protect the kitten from pain, suffering, injury and disease by not exercising reasonable care and supervision resulting in him receiving non-accidental injuries.
A 49-year-old woman also pleaded guilty to the same offences and was sentenced in her absence to a 12-month conditional discharge and £200 costs.
The cruelty case involving Tiny Tim is just one of more than 35,000 animal cruelty cases investigated by the RSPCA in the south east last year - a rise of nearly four per cent compared to the previous 12 months.
RSPCA south east superintendent Paul Stilgoe said: “I never stop feeling appalled when I look back at the shocking catalogue of cruelty the region’s inspectors are called about. We investigate such horrific cases of abuse and extreme neglect - as this year’s figures and case studies show
“Thankfully, there are also some happy endings to remind us what we strive for. As well as investigating the cruelty, our inspectors and animal centre staff rescue, rehabilitate and rehome thousands of animals a year, and this year there are some particularly touching stories in the region about the lives some of them have gone on to lead.”