Woman charged after her dog disembowelled cat in front of owner
A woman from Kent has been found guilty of allowing her dogs to be dangerously out of control in a public place. The incident led to one of her dogs disembowelling a cat (not pictured) in front of its owners.
Christine Huggan, from George Hill Road in Broadstairs, was found guilty on Friday (19th April 2013) at Margate Magistrates court of causing unnecessary suffering to the cat. The sentence was handed to Huggan under the Animal Welfare Act and she was deemed to have failed to exercise proper and effective control over her dogs.
She was also found guilty of breaching the Dogs Act of 1871 when she allowed her dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place.
During the magistrate was told about how the RSPCA, the police and the dog warden had received several complaints over a number of months from members of the public about Huggan’s dogs.
The dogs were regularly seen straying away and causing a nuisance to people, horses and other dogs. The dog warden had also issued two previous warnings to Huggan that ordered her to keep her dogs under control in a public place.
RSPCA inspector Caroline Doe said: “The magistrate then heard that minutes before the tabby cat was ripped to pieces, the owners had been outside with her in their garden with their tiny baby – they had only just walked inside their house when the dog burst through the hedge and disembowelled the cat in front of them.
“An independent vet examined the body and confirmed the cat didn’t die instantly – she would have suffered immensely during the attack.”
Huggan was handed a three-year conditional discharge and was also ordered to pay £2,000 in costs. The court also issued a deprivation order on the dog that killed the cat, which was an American Bulldog called Milly.
This means the dog will be returned to a local animal charity that rehomed Milly to Ms Huggan in the first place – the Thanet Animal Group.
The court also ruled her other dog – a German shepherd cross –must also be muzzled at all times in public place, on a lead and only walked by an adult.
“We are satisfied with the outcome of this case. The RSPCA has always said we just want the dogs to be kept under control and not to be a threat to anyone else’s animals in the future,” said inspector Doe.
“Despite rumours circulated by various individuals, the RSPCA did not – and have never – made any application to have either of the dogs destroyed. That is not the stance of the RSPCA; we have always just wanted to ensure the safety of both animals and humans by ensuring Huggan keeps her dogs under control in public.”