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Couple investigated in cat cruelty claim

PUBLISHED: 16:08 23 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:21 03 March 2010

THE RSPCA is carrying out an investigation into the owners of a cat which the charity destroyed. The animal was put down and the society says it suspects owners Brian and Melody Estall of cruelty towards their pet - but the enraged cat lovers strenuously deny the charge and have amassed a dozen witnesses to refute it.

THE RSPCA is carrying out an investigation into the owners of a cat which the charity destroyed.

The animal was put down and the society says it suspects owners Brian and Melody Estall of cruelty towards their pet – but the enraged cat lovers, who live in Earl Stonham, strenuously deny the charge and have amassed a dozen witnesses to refute it.

The Evening Star revealed how an RSPCA inspector put down black and white moggy Dixie, after finding it roaming near its home at Church Farm, without notifying the Estalls.

The 11-year-old cat, which walked with a slight limp, wasn't wearing a collar and was taken to a vet and destroyed when the inspector took the family pet for an injured stray. At the time Mr and Mrs Estall were at work at their Colchester sandwich bar.

A person who called in the RSPCA described Dixie as "a pack of razor blades".

Insisting Dixie was "thin but happy" the cat's death left the Estalls angry and upset – but the latest development has provoked even greater fury.

"I couldn't believe it when the RSPCA turned up on my doorstep and gave me a verbal caution for keeping an animal in a cruel condition," said Mr Estall.

"I said I wouldn't speak to them without my solicitor. I have since got together about a dozen witnesses to tell them how we looked after Dixie."

He added that the last time Dixie was taken to the vet for some injections was last May and the vet at the time said nothing about Dixie's condition.

A year before that, the Estalls took their cat to the vet with concerns over his weight loss but were told he was simply getting old and, as long as he kept taking his tablets, he would be fine.

The couple are bitter that Dixie's remains have not yet been returned for burial.

However, a spokesman for the RSPCA said that the cat's body had been kept back as evidence as part of an investigation which has now been launched.

"The cat was collected and taken straight away to a vet and was euthanased [killed on humane grounds] on the vet's advice," said the spokesman.

RSPCA website

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