Mother allowed to keep cats

A SINGLE mother has been allowed to keep her seven cats, despite letting a kitten suffer with swollen eyes.Linda Merchant, 46, of Norwich Road, Barham, declined to comment following her successful appeal against sentence at Ipswich Crown Court.

A SINGLE mother has today been allowed to keep her seven cats, despite letting a kitten suffer with swollen eyes.

Linda Merchant, 46, of Norwich Road, Barham, declined to comment following her successful appeal against sentence at Ipswich Crown Court.

Merchant was banned by South East Suffolk Magistrates from keeping any animals for three years because of the pain suffered by the 12-week-old kitten.

The court heard that when an RSPCA Inspector visited her home she had seven adult cats and four kittens. One of the kittens was put to sleep after becoming so ill with cat flu it could not be treated.

RSPCA Inspector Niepold said: "The kitten had swollen eyes, so full of puss that I could not see its eyes."

The court heard that Merchant had tried to treat the kitten by bathing its eyes with salt water and using out of date "useless" eye infection cream.

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The court heard that the remaining kittens were re-homed and the RSPCA have paid for the cats to be neutered.

Judge John Holt heard that Merchant and her nine year old daughter loved the cats but due to being on income support Merchant was unable to pay veterinary bills.

Judge Holt said: "This kitten clearly suffered considerable undue suffering but we accept that it occurred out of ignorance and not malice."

He said Merchant could keep her seven cats but was banned from taking in any other animals for the next three years.

The court heard that the RSPCA had paid £378 in veterinary bills for Merchant's pets, of which she has repaid £107.

Judge Holt said she would not have to make any contribution towards the RSPCA's court costs of £1,170.

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