January 17, 2022 7.00 pm This story is over 22 months old

Lincolnshire duo avoid jail after kittens found with multiple fractures and injuries

Simba also suffered head trauma and a broken tail

A pair who caused unnecessary suffering to two kittens have been banned from keeping all animals for five years and given a suspended prison sentence after being prosecuted by the RSPCA.

Oliver Vatcher, 23, and Paige Smith, 25, of Firsby Crescent, Grimsby were sentenced on the basis of their pleas – in which they accepted non-accidental injuries had been caused to the cats, but said they had not caused them and they were not aware who did but do not believe it was each other.

At a hearing at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court on January 11 the pair accepted they had failed to prevent the infliction of harm – but said they did not see the injuries being caused.

On that basis they pleaded guilty to an offence of causing unnecessary suffering to two kittens called Simba and Nala by failing to prevent the infliction of multiple non accidental injuries.

They were given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months – and Smith was ordered to carry out 15 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and Vatcher 10 days. They were ordered to pay £500 each in costs and disqualified from keeping all animals for five years.

On 16 November 2020, the RSPCA was called to investigate after another animal charity raised concerns for Simba, who’d had a number of injuries in a short space of time – which were consistent with non-accidental injury.

The RSPCA was advised that seven-month old Simba had sustained head trauma, a broken tail, a left hind femoral fracture, three fractured ribs and a possible dislocated jaw.

On January 20 last year, RSPCA inspector Thomas Hutton was also told by a vet at the other animal charity that Simba’s sibling Nala had been admitted with similar injuries. The vets were concerned about the circumstances surrounding the injuries and advised that Nala had three rib fractures of different ages, a canine fracture and a femoral fracture.

Speaking after the case Inspector Hutton said: “The injuries sustained by both cats would have caused significant pain and suffering.

“Both kittens received treatment for their injuries and have recovered well and have since been rehomed.”

In mitigation the court was told Smith had no previous convictions and had poor mental health, and Vatcher was in employment.