June 2022

Animal neglect woman finally sentenced – But walks free from court

A woman has been banned from owning pets for 12 years after RSPCA inspectors discovered one of her cats eating another cat’s body after she abandoned them.

Leanne McConnell’s cats had been left alone for so long that one of them died of thirst and starvation, while the other, along with a dog, were found emaciated and distressed.

McConnell’s home was also in a disgusting state – with rubbish and animal faeces littering the floor and a strong smell of urine.

It was in the filthy downstairs bedroom that inspectors found a cat, which McConnell named ‘Fat S***’ eating the remains of McConnell’s other cat ‘Tilly’

The surviving cat had a matted coat and protruding bones, Sefton Magistrates’ Court heard.

A dog – named ‘Chunks – was also discovered at the property in the Norris Green area of Liverpool.

RSPCA animal welfare inspector Anthony Joynes visited house with police in November, 2021 after members of the public voiced concern.

When he arrived at the home on Hollingbourne Road, they were shocked and disgusted at the vile state of the property on the inside

He managed to call 31 year-old McConnell and she came round to the house to let him in, where he eventually found the distressing scene.

Inspector Joynes said: “All of the bones of the male tabby cat were easily palpable through his skin.

He also had a marked skin tent and was clearly distressed being found actively feeding on a deceased black and white cat.

“The dead cat appeared to have had her rear legs and pelvic region stripped of the soft tissues leaving exposed bone. The rest of the carcass was in very poor condition with very little muscle and all bones easily palpable through the skin.”

A photo from the home – which was shown to the court – shows the cat’s body lying on the bathroom floor surrounded by dirt and an empty food tray.

Veterinary surgeon Vanessa Whitfield told the court a post-mortem proved inconclusive, but the court heard the most likely cause of death was inadequate nutrition or malnutrition, although she said disease within the missing organs could not be ruled out.

The examination found that a large proportion of the cat’s abdominal organs, muscle tissue and skin were missing and the medic said several of her internal organs had been eaten by the surviving cat.

Dr Whitfield said: “The two cats and dogs were allowed to suffer due to a lack of accessible, clean and fresh water leading to thirst, dehydration and contributing to the death of one of the cats.”

McConnell had admitted three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals and a fourth charge of failing to meet animal’s needs at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court earlier this year.

McConnell, now Andrew Street, Walton, was handed a six month jail term suspended for a year and banned for keeping animals for twelve years.

She must also pay a £200 fine, £400 in court costs and £447 in RSPCA medical costs