Couple admit kitten cruelty

A COUPLE who were preparing to bury a live kitten could be banned from owning animals.

Aaron Hubbard, 30, and Helen Saunders, 18, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to two, seven-week-old kittens at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The pair admitted the offences towards a male tabby kitten between September 20 to 23 last year and to a ginger male kitten between September 20 and 22, also last year.

Robert Starr, prosecuting, on behalf of the RSPCA, said an inspector had visited the couple’s home in East Street, Sudbury, on September 23.

The inspector found two live kittens in the home but was told by Hubbard two other kittens had died and he intended to bury them.

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“Insp Finch saw two kittens lying in a box and one of them was dead,” Mr Starr told the hearing yesterday.

“The other kitten was alive but very weak and cold and Hubbard said it was his intention to bury them.”

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The court heard Hubbard and Saunders had been feeding the kittens Whiskers Kitten Milk and adult cat food, watered down and given to them through a syringe for around two weeks.

But the couple had switched to Cow and Gate baby’s milk formula as it was cheaper, Mr Starr said.

A vet had offered to care for the kittens when Hubbard called saying they were ill a few days before the inspector’s visit, but the couple continued to keep the animals at home, he added.

When Insp Finch arrived, the male ginger kitten was already dead and, despite emergency treatment, the second male tabby kitten later had to be put down by vets.

A post mortem revealed both kittens had died from malnutrition, having suffered for two and three days each.

Lyndon Davies, in mitigation, told the court the couple had originally taken on two kittens from a litter of four, but had adopted the further two when another owner gave them up.

Mr Davies added Hubbard also had severe learning difficulties and had mistakenly believed the second kitten was dead.

“These two people are animal lovers and, clearly, in this situation, they took on more than they could manage in the circumstances,” Mr Davies said.

Stuart Roy, presiding magistrate, adjourned proceedings until May 26 for reports to be prepared on the pair.

Mr Roy told the couple they should prepare themselves for a ban on owning animals, which could mean their other pets, including a dog and a couple of snakes, could be taken away.

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