A man has admitted feeding poisoned tuna to his neighbours’ cats – both of which later died.
Tristian Paul Pearson, 44, left out tubs which contained tuna and a high concentration of ethylene glycol – which is highly poisonous to felines.
Two cats living nearby – Luna and Bailey – later died after becoming sick from eating the poisoned fish, with Luna having to be put to sleep.
The poisonings took place in September 2021 and the kidney tubules of both cats were consistent with ethylene glycol poisoning.
The cats belonged to a father and daughter who lived in two separate properties near Pearson's home.
Three young children – aged eight, five and 18 months – lived at the same property as one of the cats.
Bailey's owner reported that his male Persian cat became unwell and appeared weak and wobbly.
He died before a planned appointment to see the vets took place.
Days later Luna, a female domestic short hair, returned home to a property backing onto the house where Bailey lived – also appearing very wobbly on her back legs.
Her symptoms escalated, and vets found her to also have a high heart rate while her muscles were twitching.
Vet tests confirmed Luna had kidney failure and she was put to sleep on humane grounds.
Following the deaths of the two pets the cats’ owners looked in the rear garden of their neighbour's property – and spotted two pots.
One contained a bright blue liquid, and the other pot contained a food mix, including meat. These were retrieved, and passed to the RSPCA.
Some of the meat-type substance found in one of the pots was also found in the garden of Luna's owner.
Tests later confirmed substances found in the pots contained a high concentration of ethylene glycol, one of which appeared to have been mixed with tuna fish.
An expert veterinary witness report concluded that it is "very highly likely that this was the source of ethylene glycol that caused the death of" Luna and Bailey.
The vet statement added that the "effects of ethylene glycol poisoning cause a cat to suffer via the mechanism of dehydration with subsequent headaches, nausea, disorientation, weakness and collapse".
Pearson, of Bargoed, Wales, pleaded guilty to an Animal Welfare Act offence and was handed an eight month suspended prison sentence at Cardiff Crown Court last week.
The RSPCA say it the first such case to be referred in this way, following the coming into force of the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 last year demonstrating the seriousness of the offence.
In addition, Pearson was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work, and disqualified from keeping all animals for a period of five years – a ban which he may not contest for at least four years.
He was also ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, RSPCA inspector Simon Evans, who investigated, said: "These poor cats were deliberately tempted into digesting a substance that is incredibly dangerous for cats and ultimately proved fatal to them both…
"We hope this shocking, landmark case sends a clear message to anyone thinking of targeting cats in this way - this is wrong, illegal and will not be tolerated."