#TheList Joe Purvis, born c. 1993, of William Tennant Way, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcester WR8 OLP – broke his kitten’s jaw and caused what are believed to be burns to her head; kitten also lost a leg
Purvis took his 12-week-old Maine Coon cat, named Indico, to a vet in November 2018 where she was found to have three fractures to her head.
The pet, bought for £50 several months earlier on Facebook, also had an open wound on the top of her head, and lost a leg while in Purvis’ care.
Purvis admitted to giving Indica a “back-hander”, claiming she had bitten him, but did not accept that the marks were caused by a burn. Instead, he claimed she hit her head on a tap while he was trying to wash her.
The former student at Heart of Worcestershire College accepted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal when he appeared before magistrates.
Sara Pratt, prosecuting, said the defendant had taken the kitten to vets in September 2018 and she had such severe injuries to her leg that they had no choice but to amputate it.
On November 9, 2018, Purvis then took her again to Coldicott & Kingsway Veterinary Clinic in Tewkesbury and was described by staff as smelling “overwhelmingly of cannabis”.
Mrs Pratt said he told vets he believed the cat had suffered a broken jaw due to him giving her a “back-hander the night before” after she’d defecated on his bed and bit him.
He also told them the open sore on her head was caused by her hitting her head while he washed faeces off her.
Purvis said to vets he “couldn’t cope with such a demanding animal” and that she was the “first and last” pet he would ever own.
Mrs Pratt said the defendant had been unable to sleep the night of the incident and had toyed with the idea of taking her somewhere to “let her go as a stray” but decided to take her to Coldicott clinic instead.
The vets told him Indico needed an X-ray, but he said he didn’t have any money and “did not want the cat” before becoming “verbally aggressive”.
When veterinary staff wouldn’t agree to take the kitten off him, he told them there was “no proof” he owned her anyway.
He added that if he was forced to take her home he would “let her go” and described the vets as “money grabbing” despite them offering to give some treatment for free.
The court heard Purvis then agreed to sign over the cat to the practice and started to fill out a document but then “screwed it up” and exited.
The cat was left at the vets where she was examined, and it was determined she had fractures to the eye and jaw.
The wound to the head appeared to be a burn rather than a graze, as Purvis described it.
Mrs Pratt said vets said there was a “crunching of the bones” on the right-hand jaw bone.
The kitten’s general demeanour was said to be “nervous” in contrast to most young cats who are usually “bold and active” when going to the vets.
An RSPCA inspector went to Purvis’ home later the same day. Purvis agreed to sign over Indico to them and was later interviewed at a local police station.
Mrs Pratt said “there was significant intervention in terms of operations to put right the injuries” which had proved costly to the vets as Purvis hadn’t paid any money.
Defending Purvis Judith Kenney, of Judith Kenney Solicitors in Worcester, said she had seen pictures of the cat while she was living with her client and she was “happy and contented”.
A cat owner herself, Kenney said it is often the case that once a young cat goes through such trauma as a major operation and re-adjustment to life, they are “never the same”.
“The reality is, then she couldn’t defecate properly in her litter tray anymore,” she explained, and went on to say she believes Purvis was not properly told how to look after her after the amputation and “struggled with her”.
Referring to the day in November in which he struck the cat, Kenney said: “Only he knows the truth of the matter.”
“Why would he take the kitten to the vets and admit what he had done if he didn’t have some compassion towards her?”
She said he became agitated at the vets because he “couldn’t afford to pay anymore” fees and had a hospital appointment later that morning.
She said he is often “impulsive” and “that’s part of his difficulties”.
At the last hearing in February, Kenney had said her client suffers from mental health problems.
Kenney said: “He wants me to ensure that you are aware that he did the right thing. He took the cat to the vets. He didn’t do the right thing in hitting her and breaking her jaw.”
She added: “There has been absolute vilification of him in the press. When I read some of the comments, I just couldn’t believe some individuals can’t see that there’s two sides to a story.”
“He is an animal lover,” she continued. “He accepts what he did on that day was not right and if he could put the clock back, he would.”
The court heard the cat has now been rehomed.
Sentencing: 14 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. Costs and charges totalling £515. Banned from owning any animals for 10 years.