A judge has given a lifetime pet ownership ban to a woman who starved her 18-month cat to death and has issued a warrant to bring her to court to face sentence.
Sarah Jane Morrissey of Lough Na Mona Crescent, Easton, Leixlip, Co. Kildare, did not attend her scheduled hearing at Dublin District Court.
Judge Anthony Halpin described it as the worst animal neglect case he had seen.
He convicted Morrissey in her absence under the Animal Health and Welfare Act.
She was accused of not safeguarding her pet’s welfare, causing it unnecessary suffering and being reckless regarding its health and welfare in September 2021.
The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) had received a report about the cat in the defendant’s home.
ISPCA inspector Fiona Conlon went to the woman’s home over four days within a week, but the curtains were drawn, and there was no answer.
She outlined how she could hear the young male cat in “distress”.
However, when she returned for a follow-up check. Morrissey, who is in her 30s, was home and handed over the cat to the animal welfare inspector.
Ms Conlon said the pet was emaciated and on the verge of death at that stage.
The ISPCA rushed it to a vet who, over four hours, tried to save the dying cat, which eventually had to be euthanised.
The cat weighed 1.8 kg when the average weight was 4 kg. Ms Conlon described it as the worst cat case she had seen.
She said it was not let out of the house where it would have had a chance to find food or be taken in by someone else.
She told the court that was the worst cat welfare case she had witnessed.
In addition to the photo evidence handed into court, the animal welfare inspector had video evidence.
However, Judge Halpin remarked that he wouldn’t be able to watch the footage because the pictures shown to him made him “physically sick”.
He said the animal was starved to death, and he acceded to a request from prosecuting counsel Matthew Holmes to make an order to disqualify Morrissey from ever having an animal again.
He issued a bench warrant to have her arrested and brought before the court to be sentenced.