Couple banned from owning pets after two kittens were found with multiple broken bones


A Grimsby man and woman have been banned from keeping animals for five years after two kittens in their care suffered multiple broken bones, causing them “significant pain and suffering”.

Oliver Vatcher, 23, of Ainslie Street, and Paige Smith, 25, of Daubney Street, appeared in Grimsby Magistrates Court on Tuesday January 11 after being prosecuted by the RSPCA.

Between August 1, 2020 and January 19, 2021, the kittens – Simba and Nala – sustained the non-accidental injuries at an address on Firsby Crescent in Grimsby.

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On November 16, 2020, the RSPCA was called to investigate after another animal welfare organization raised concerns about Simba.

The charity said Simba has displayed a number of injuries consistent with non-accidental injuries in a short span of time.

Seven-month-old Simba had head trauma, a broken tail, a fractured left rear thigh, three broken ribs and a possible dislocated jaw.

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On January 20 last year, RSPCA Inspector Thomas Hutton was told by a veterinarian from the other animal welfare organization that Simba’s sibling Nala had been brought in with similar injuries.

Concerned about the circumstances surrounding the injuries, vets said Nala had three rib fractures of varying ages, a canine fracture and a femoral fracture.

The pair were convicted by Grimsby Magistrates Court on the basis of their pleadings, in which they accepted that the kittens were not accidentally injured but claimed they did not cause them and did not know who did so.

They claimed they didn’t believe the injuries were inflicted on each other and that they “didn’t see” how they were inflicted.

On this basis, Vatcher and Smith both pleaded guilty to one felony count of causing needless suffering to two kittens by failing to prevent the infliction of multiple non-accidental injuries.

Vatcher and Smith were sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

Smith was also sentenced to 15 days of rehab and Vatcher to 10 days.

They were asked to pay £500 each in costs and were banned from keeping all the animals for five years.

Poor Simba was left with terrible injuries

In mitigation, the court was told that Smith had no criminal record and had poor mental health and Vatcher was employed.

After the fall, RSPCA Inspector Thomas Hutton said: “The injuries suffered by both cats would have caused significant pain and suffering.

“Both kittens were treated for their injuries and have made a good recovery and have since been re-homed.”

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