Blakelaw couple banned from having cats after leaving their pet two years without getting vital treatment

Jasper the cat went two years without treatment for a painful eye condition
-Credit: (Image: RSPCA)

A Blakelaw couple have been banned from having cats for five years after leaving their cat two years without getting treatment for a shocking eye condition.

Andrew and Diane Little - of Eastern Way - both admitted an offence of causing unnecessary suffering to pet cat Jasper - by failing to provide veterinary treatment. Jasper had suffered from a condition called entropion for two years. This is a breach of the Animal Welfare Act.

The condition sees eyelids turn inward causing infection, inflammation and pain. RSCPA Inspector Keogh-Laws was called to the couple's home in January this year after concerns about the cat's welfare were raised. At this time, it became clear the couple had not sought treatment for Jasper for two years - and they were told he would need urgent care within seven days.

But eight days later, when the inspector returned, the cat had not been given any treatment. As a result, Northumbria Police placed Jasper into the care of the RSPCA charity and he was taken to a vet for treatment.

At a sentencing hearing at Newcastle Magistrates' Court, the couple were banned from owning cats for five years. Andrew Little as told to pay an £853 fine, £341 victim surcharge and costs of £279. Diane Little was fined £615, and told to pay a £246 victim surcharge and costs of £279.

In a witness statement, the vet who treated Jasper said: "[The condition] would have caused stress in an animal that relies on binocular vision for depth perception. Along with the pain the loss of vision in this eye would have caused mental strain and suffering as well."

They added: "It is my opinion that Jasper had suffered for a period of several months if not longer. The growths themselves would not have been preventable but the resulting injury and pain could have been avoided. The suffering had been unnecessarily prolonged by the owner failing to provide veterinary care and treatment for the cat."

The RSPCA said Jasper had made a strong recovery and the charity would now look to re-home him. Inspector Keogh-Laws said: "Our pets rely on us to provide them with veterinary care when they’re unwell, and it’s so important that we do this for them to keep them happy and healthy.

"Poor Jasper was struggling so much with this eye condition, and I’m really happy that he has made a good recovery in our care and our fantastic team who’s been looking after him can now find him a new home."