Cat lover cleared of cruelty charge

A DEVOTED cat owner accused of kicking a dog to death after it attacked his pet has been cleared of cruelty charge.Magistrates found Barry Whitbread not guilty of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to whippets belonging to Jane Rayson.

A DEVOTED cat owner accused of kicking a dog to death after it attacked his pet has been cleared of cruelty charge.

Magistrates found Barry Whitbread not guilty of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to whippets belonging to Jane Rayson.

The court heard Mr Whitbread, of Westgarth Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, had been arrested after he kicked one of the dogs up to eight times, causing its heart to burst, during an incident outside his home last year.

But Mildenhall magistrates said they felt the 68-year-old's conduct had been "reasonable during what was a very unfortunate incident".

Mrs Rayson, of Horringer Road, Bury St Edmunds, was walking her two whippets, Frankie and Molly, on July 23 when they suddenly ran off and disappeared from sight.

"I followed them and I could hear them barking, I ran around the corner and saw a man kicking them," she said.

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"I did not know what to do. I shouted at the man to stop, but I was in a state of shock. I could not believe what I was seeing."

The court heard the two dogs had run into Mr Whitbread's garden, where they had started to attack his pet cat.

A "frenzied" battle then took place between the animals and Mr Whitbread, who admitted kicking one of the dogs in an attempt to make it let go of his cat.

Mrs Rayson said: "Frankie was really badly hurt and in a dreadful state. His head lolled and there was a lot of blood and I knew that he was dying."

Frankie, 10, died moments later from its injuries, which included a burst atrium and a tear to the wall of his heart. His nine-year-old sister Molly sustained a cut to its ear.

Mr Whitbread admitted kicking at least one of the dogs, but told the court he had feared for his cat's life.

"Another 10 seconds and my cat would have been dead. One of the dogs had my cat's neck and the other had its hind leg," he said.

"I grabbed one of them by the nose, but that was not effective, so I kicked it to make it let go of my cat."

The cat sustained a dislocated leg during the incident. Speaking after the hearing, Mr Whitbread said he was "delighted" with the magistrates' decision.

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