Luton woman banned from keeping cats for life

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A 54-year-old woman appeared before Luton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 18 July, where she admitted failing to meet the welfare needs of a 17-year-old cat named Star.

Joan Henry of Gelding Close, Luton, was disqualified from keeping cats for life and magistrates ordered her to carry out a 12 month community order of 100 hours of unpaid work, and pay prosecution costs of £300, after she pleaded guilty to failing to ensure Star was protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease by not adequately checking her for, and treating signs of ill health.

The court was told by prosecutor Mark Jones that the case was in relation to the neglect of Star who was found extremely skinny and her filthy fur was matted and covered in dirt and faeces in February this year.

The member of public who found the cat took her to a veterinary practice and the RSPCA was later called to investigate the poor condition of the animal.

Star was so filthy that staff were not even able to tell what colour she was, and it was only after she was bathed that they found she was tabby with white legs as they had been completely covered in filth.

Following further veterinary visits sadly Star was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour and she was later put to sleep to prevent her suffering further.

Her owner was identified and they signed over Star to the RSPCA.

RSPCA Inspector Mel Fisher said: “Poor Star had clearly been losing weight for a sustained period of time as she was emaciated and it was clear that she was unable to eat properly because of the tumour in her mouth or to groom herself.

“In my opinion it would have taken her weeks to have ended up in this terrible state and yet her owner implied that the cat had been fine just a few days before she was found.

“I hope this case sends out a clear message to pet owners that just because cats may appear to be independent, they still need to be looked after and checked regularly so that if any issues arise they should be investigated by a vet. Age doesn’t matter, all animals deserve to be provided with the appropriate care and it’s so sad that poor Star was not given this simple opportunity.”