A man has been banned from keeping any pets for life after he admitted failing to adequately tend to his cat which had suffered from a major neck wound.
Michael Fraser, 54, of Norderhoull, Voe, was also fined £200 when he admitted allowing the animal to suffer unnecessarily between April and June last year. The cat, having been handed over to SSPCA and tended to by vets, eventually had to be put out of its misery.
Lerwick Sheriff Court heard yesterday that the cat had started hanging around Fraser’s home some 10 years ago and became accepted as his.
But it suffered an injury earlier this year. Just when its wound had almost healed it became involved in a fight with another cat.
Fraser treated it with some cream that he had, but accepted that level of treatment was insufficient.
Sheriff Philip Mann was shown a series of “horrific” photographs which outlined the extent of the cat’s injuries.
The court heard the incident came to light when a neighbour became so concerned about the cat’s condition she took it to seek treatment.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said: “She was put in a very difficult position because she holds the accused in high regard and speaks highly of him as a neighbour. But she was seeing this cat out every day and had spoken to him about it.”
The neighbour had previously given Fraser advice about the Cats Protection League, but felt she had to act when nothing was done.
The court heard she did not want Fraser to get into trouble and told vets the cat was a stray.
Once involved, vets carried out surgery and skin grafts. But their treatment was to “no avail”.
“It had simply gone too far and the cat had to be put to sleep,” said Mr MacKenzie.
Mr MacKenzie said the cat’s suffering could have been prevented and relieved had prompt treatment been given.
When the SSPCA became involved they spoke to Fraser and he admitted owning the cat.
Defence agent Tommy Allan said there was no dispute over the photographs of the cat. He said that when he had first shown them to Fraser his reaction was one of “horror”.
“He accepts responsibility for the animal coming to that state.”
Mr Allan said Fraser had appeared “genuinely sorry” when he had learned only that day that the cat had died. He said Fraser had readily relinquished ownership of the cat to the SSPCA, and said he had hoped the cat would find a happy home somewhere.
Sheriff Philip Mann told Fraser: “It’s accepted by all around the table that you didn’t actually do anything to cause this wound, but it is clear by failing to take prompt action by taking the cat to the vet you caused this cat significant suffering.”
He granted a Crown motion to ban Fraser from owning any pet for life. Fraser was told he would be unable to apply for a removal of the ban for seven years.