Couple banned from keeping animals after abuse which led to the death of a kitten

Ellie sustained a fractured front leg after she was struck with a sweeping brush during a domestic argument. Credit: RSPCA

A couple from Blackburn who abused their cats - which led to the death of a kitten and left two other pets with fractured bones - have been banned from keeping animals for life.

Callum Richardson, who's 22, and of Heatley Close, Blackburn, and Ellen Jayne Symon, also 22, of Hazel Avenue, Darwen, Lancashire, have both pleaded guilty to one animal welfare offence.

A court heard how during the course of an RSPCA investigation a kitten was found dead in their home following a blunt force trauma incident, while another cat was found to have 13 fractured ribs, a fractured leg and a fractured cheekbone. Another cat was unable to walk as she had a broken leg.

The investigation was launched in November 2020 after the RSCPA were alerted to the situation by a cat charity, which had taken five cats into care at the owner's request. The charity believed some of the animals had been deliberately harmed.

Two cats were struggling to walk and another cat called Ellie had a broken right forelimb. The couple later said in interviews that Ellie sustained a fractured front leg after she was struck with a sweeping brush during a domestic argument. 

A leg amputation had to be carried out on Ellie who eventually recovered from her injuries.

Two months later, the RSPCA were called to reports that a kitten called Coco had been killed at the Heatley Close address where the couple were living together.

The kitten's body was found in a shoe box in the home and both defendants accused each other of killing the eight-week old pet by throwing her against a wall.

in August 2021 the RSPCA was called to reports that the couple had another cat in their care, called Lucifer, who appeared severely injured and was screaming in pain.

The pet, aged one, was rushed to the Greater Manchester Animal Hospital where he was discovered to have a fractured right hind limb and multiple historic fractures of the cheekbone and 13 fractures of the ribs.  

Lucifer has made a full recovery Credit: RSCPA

Lucifer has since recovered after having his leg pinned and had to have two months of cage rest.

RSPCA Inspector Danni Jennings said: “This was a horrific case of cruelty to a number of defenceless cats. This prosecution sends a statement that treating cats in this way is wholly unacceptable.”

As well as a lifetime ban on keeping all animals at the court hearing on May 4th, the pair were given 18 week prison sentences suspended for two years and were also ordered to carry out 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and each have to pay £350 costs.

Ellie and Lucifer have since been rehomed by the RSPCA and are doing well in their new homes.