A thug caught on CCTV setting his dog on a neighbour’s cat, which was mauled to death, has been jailed for 18 weeks after admitting animal cruelty.
Amos Price, whose offending caused outrage on social media after video footage was released in a bid to identify him, was also banned from keeping animals for life.
Magistrates in Walsall, West Midlands, were not shown footage of the sickening attack but were told unemployed Price, who was carrying a high-powered torch, claimed to have been drunk during the offence.
Price was arrested by West Midlands Police on Tuesday following a six-day manhunt sparked by the release of footage by the RSPCA.
The 30-year-old, of Trevor Road, Pelsall, was captured on camera at the side of a house in nearby Woodlands Crescent at about 10.45pm on October 23 while wearing a cap and hooded jacket.
The “horrifying” video shows Price approaching the home with his lurcher-type dog, which he then pulled towards the cat, triggering the brutal mauling.
Prosecutor Helen Shipley said the cat’s owner, Gary Truefitt, had viewed the footage after being unable to find his cat, named Cleo.
In a victim personal statement read to the court, Mr Truefitt said: “The attack has affected my sleep. My cat Cleo would always be there in the morning but now she is not.
“I don’t want to go home because I know Cleo is not there. I feel as if a big part of my life is missing.”
The court was told Price, who was jailed last year for criminal damage and assault, co-operated with police who arrested him, telling officers: “I was going to hand myself in on Friday. I am done with looking over my shoulder and my family are getting threats.”
Defence lawyer Mandeep Sehmi said father-of-two Price – whose partner and other family members attended court – would not have committed the offence if he had been sober and was extremely ashamed and sorry.
Mr Sehmi told the court: “His family and he have received death threats. He knows that his being in custody, his family will have to face such threats alone.”
Passing sentence, chairman of the bench Brian Benton told Price: “This court is restricted to a maximum sentence of 26 weeks for the offence to which you have pleaded.
“Due to your guilty plea, you are entitled to a reduction of one-third, to 18 weeks. However, due to the circumstances, we would if we were actually permitted to do so have imposed a far greater custodial sentence.”
Price, who was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £122 and £250 in compensation to Mr Truefitt, blew a kiss towards the public gallery as he was taken to the cells.
Mr Truefitt said in a statement issued last week: “Cleo will be very much missed, she was a daft cat in lots of ways and would lie along the driveway even when there were cars about, but she was a companion to me.
“It’s just awful to think of her being attacked in this way.”