A man has received a suspended sentence after admitting to poisoning his neighbours’ cats.
Tristian Paul Pearson was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months for targeting the family pets Luna and Bailey and luring them into consuming the toxic substance ethylene glycol.
Luna and Bailey died shortly after the poisonings took place in early September 2021, when within a week of each other they returned home appearing unwell.
Both cats seemed weak and wobbly in their legs, with Bailey, a male Persian, dying before he could be seen by a vet. Luna, who was later found to have kidney failure, had to be put down by a vet to stop her suffering.
At a hearing on Friday, Cardiff crown court heard how after their deaths the cats’ devastated owners, a father and daughter who lived in two separate houses near Pearson’s home, began searching their neighbours’ gardens. When they looked into the rear garden of Pearson’s property they spotted two pots: one that contained a bright blue liquid and another that appeared to have tuna in it.
The pots were passed to the RSPCA and both were found to have a high concentration of ethylene glycol, a highly toxic substance to cats. An expert veterinary witness report concluded it was “very highly likely that this [the pots] was the source of ethylene glycol that caused the death of” Luna and Bailey.
A vet statement added that the “effects of ethylene glycol poisoning cause a cat to suffer via the mechanism of dehydration with subsequent headaches, nausea, disorientation, weakness and collapse”.
Pearson, 44, of Bargoed in south Wales, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals. He was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from keeping all animals for five years – a ban he may not contest for at least four years. He was also ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.
The RSPCA inspector Simon Evans, who investigated the case, said: “These poor cats were deliberately tempted into digesting a substance that is incredibly dangerous for cats and ultimately proved fatal to them both. The two dishes found in the defendant’s garden contained a high concentration of the dangerous substance – and he admitted in court that he caused them to consume it, causing them to suffer unnecessarily.
“We hope this shocking, landmark case sends a clear message to anyone thinking of targeting cats in this way – this is wrong, illegal and will not be tolerated.”
The RSPCA believes it is the first case to be referred to a crown court since the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 came into force. It increased the maximum sentence that could be imposed on offenders from six months to five years.
Evans added: “This case reminds us that pet poisonings do happen. Anyone fearing their cat may have been poisoned should try to remain calm, move the cat away from the source and contact a vet straight away.”