Pensioner fined £125 for killing neighbours’ cats

Was this pensioner fined enough for killing cats? The exact number is probably not known but according to the story1 five cats belonging to the pensioner’s neighbours were poisoned.

£125 seems a very small fine when the maximum that he could have been fined was £5,000. How many cats does a person have to kill before he is punished something near the maximum?

The story concerns a man living in the UK, Donald Waterworth, 79, who put down plates of tuna in his garden which were laced with antifreeze. His next-door neighbour spotted him doing this after she had lost four of her cats. They all fell ill within 2 weeks in October 2013. The names of her cats were: Tippex, Affro, Midnight and Lily.

In addition to these four cats a fifth can be added, owned by Julie McClumpa, who lost her 8-year-old Treacle and about the same time.

What is interesting about this case is that Mr Waterworth admitted to knowingly putting down the poisoned food but it was not proved that the tuna had killed any of the cats.

Nonetheless, he was successfully prosecuted and as mentioned his conviction led to a sentence of £125.

After Tippex had been poisoned he would let his owner Julie stroke him and curled up in a ball in the corner of a room (the typical behavior of a very sick cat). Julie took him to the vet and the vet diagnosed antifreeze poisoning. The vet could do nothing to save Tippex and he was euthanised. Tippex was only 11 months old and Julie is naturally extremely upset. Why isn’t there an antidote to antifreeze poisoning in cats?

Mr Waterworth was prosecuted by the RSPCA under the Protection of Animals Act 1911, which states:

If any person shall wilfully, without any reasonable cause or excuse, administer, or cause or procure, or being the owner permit, such administration of, any poisonous or dangerous drug or substance to any animal, or shall wilfully, without any reasonable cause an excuse, cause any such substance to be taken by any animal….. such person shall be guilty of an offence of cruelty within the meaning of this Act, and shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

Level 5 on the standard scale of fines is a maximum of £5000.

This pensioner could have been sent to jail for 6 months but got away with a measly fine. I think magistrates and judges undervalue the domestic cat. This undervaluation of the domestic cat’s life occurs in any court anywhere in the world in my experience. Courts fail to factor in the emotional connection between cat and cat caretaker. Judges and magistrates value the domestic cat as they would a second-hand fridge. This is incorrect.

1. Source: The Times.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

11 thoughts on “Pensioner fined £125 for killing neighbours’ cats”

  1. Barbara – if you’re still there on this day-old post-site, kindly tell Ruth that I tried to make it up to the library this afternoon (Sat.) to retrieve her e-mails. But it wasn’t meant to be.

    Am stranded. Can’t get out of this house unless my geographically nearest friend – who lives eight miles from here – comes and fetches me.

    This afternoon I peeled nearly the entire front bumper off my car, including the right headlight and hubcap. Tell your sister not to even think of asking. She doesn’t want to know.

    The worst part of it all, how in Sam Hill do I get the car down to the Toyota mechanics in this condition? If I try to TIE on the **##** bumper with a clothesline (loop the line around one end, twist it around the passenger-side mirror, then twist it again around the headrest on the passenger seat, there’s no guarantee it won’t whip loose on these gusty streets and whirl through the air like a helicopter blade, decapitating every pedestrian within a mile radius.

    And if they have to tow it in — can you even begin to conceive what they’re going to charge for THAT? Even w/o the towing, the repairs are easily going to run to four figures. When the mechanics start tossing around the phrase ‘body work,’ you know what’s coming.

    If any of this is believable, I managed to TEAR each screw-hole fastening the bumper onto the chassis (whatever). Every last hole is lacerated beyond recognition.

    This…after a stellar driving record over a lifetime. My psyche is smashed into rubble, my dear. Tell Ruthie not to expect hearing from me anytime soon. After having just shelled out hundreds of dollars to renew the house and car insurance four days ago, after having recently forked over nearly $700.00 for a computer with zero e-mail capabilities —-well, it’s too much to be borne. Over & out. xx

    1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

      Sylvia, I just hope you are not hurt yourself, what a nightmare it all sounds for you! Don’t worry about emails, we will catch up sometime, just take care of yourself and I hope you manage to get your car fixed (or a replacement) soon xx

  2. Awful when people who seem so upstanding are in fact so cruel and mercenary that they will kill animals that have nothing and that have to scrape, root and forage for sustenance over a few plants, or because they begrudge them passing through their property. To have so much and be so selfish as to kill other creatures who hardly make a dent in their bubble of comfort and wealth makes me so sad and so angry, I hate the human race when I hear or read of people like the above.

  3. An Oxford don in tweeds and tie. A consummate scholar learned in the Classics. An author of numerous histories. A years-long gardening columnist in the Financial Times. (Italicized.) His way with words is infused with refinement, subtle wit and dry humor – every verbal felicity. A gorgeous read.

    In one of his books he writes about the nocturnal rabbits and badgers rooting around in his flowerbeds. What to do? He sets out saucers of sugared milk blended with weed killer.

    One of his favorite leisure activities? Foxhunting.

    1. Again, Sylvia Ann, thank you. Your comments always are informative and your own subtle wit and dry humor appreciated.

    2. I’m always shocked when humans believe that they have the right to kill animals at will.

      I didn’t even have words to say when my older sister (Lutheran schoolteacher) told me that her husband (Lutheran minister) shot and killed rabbits all the time that invaded their vegetable garden.

      REALLY!?!?! Losing a little lettuce is such a crime that it qualifies for a death penalty?

  4. Horrible evil old man, no he wasn’t fined enough, how cheap cats lives are when he has just about got away with murdering at least 5 and got this laughable fine, where are the RSPCA why aren’t they pursuing this case. I hope someone deals out some rough justice to him one dark night, he fully deserves it.

  5. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    Waterworth is a very cruel old man and should have been punished much more than he was.
    There are things everyone doesn’t like, some people don’t like neighbours dogs, but they don’t go around poisoning them
    It makes me very annoyed that cats lives are of so very little value to some monsters masquerading as human beings.

  6. Lets hope that the neighbourhood reaction will continue to punish him in a wide variety of ways. Ostracisation is particularly effective against people who are already marginalised. The legal profession is only as effective as it’s practitioners and this one was something of a wet lettuce. He should have been ordered tp pay the cost of replacement, upkeep of the cats in mention, plus 1000% for emotional damage to each person. No reverence for life is no small matter.

  7. Its sad and pathetic that a aged gentleman took up to serial killing his neighbour’s cats. Could be he had some grievance with his neighbour but taking revenge on the neighbours pet cats ios unforgivable.Since i have lived in North East England for a few months have a understanding of British countryside living which has independent bungalow cottages with a garden.Seems this gentleman just didn’t like the cats prowling in his compound as he admitted poisoning them.A case for a “Mental Asylum”.

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