Hard up pet owner from Exmouth left cat's gruesome bulging eye untreated, court hears
A retired teacher left her 16-year-old cat untreated with a ‘gruesome’ bulging eye because she could not afford the vet’s fees, a court has been told.
Dilys Hadley, aged 62, did not think the family pet called Janet was suffering and was waiting for her daughter to come home from university because she feared the cat would be put down and wanted moral support.
Mrs Hadley was prosecuted by the RSPCA after a neighbour reported the cat to them and an inspector took her to a vet, where she was put down a few days later after an x-ray revealed a massive tumour.
When the owner was seen by an inspector she agreed to sign a form immediately giving permission for Janet to be treated and if necessary euthanized, Exeter Crown Court was told.
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Mrs Hadley, of Whitman Close, Exmouth, is appealing against her conviction by Exeter Magistrates for allowing the cat to undergo unnecessary suffering by failing to seek veterinary treatment.
She says the cat was not in pain and she intended to take it to the vet the next day. She says her interviews with RSPCA inspectors are not accurate because they were not tape recorded and were written down in longhand as she spoke.
RSPCA Inspector Maria Zwegger said she investigated the case after Janet had been taken to the vet by colleague Inspector Tony Frow in August 2011.
She said:”I had a phone call about a cat with what appeared to be an injured eye. I established from checking local vets she was called Janet and had not been taken for treatment.
“The following week, after my colleague Tony Frow had removed the cat, I spoke to the owner. Her daughter Grace was also there and Mrs Hadley said she was responsible for Janet’s care.
“The cat was taken to the Corner House surgery in Exmouth by Inspector Frow. I understood the owner had not taken it to a vet by the owner. It had a very bulging eye which I later photographed.
“It was bulging out of the socket and it looked as if was being pushed out by pressure behind the eye. It looked quite gruesome.
“The vet did not believe any treatment was possible other than an x-ray which would establish if there was some sort of tumour and that if that was the case the cat should be euthanized, which was the result.”
Inspector Zwegger said she interviewed the owner who told her she had got Janet 16 years earlier as a kitten for her daughter Grace, who was now 22 and had just graduated from Cambridge University.
She said the eye had started to look odd about a year earlier and gradually got worse until there was a sudden deterioration in the last two weeks.
Mrs Hadley told her she initially held off seeking treatment because she did not think the cat was suffering and because she could not afford the bill.
She said in the last few days she knew she had to take Janet to the vet but realised the illness was likely to lead to the cat being put down and wanted her daughter to come with her.
She told the inspector:”When we noticed the eye was bulging we discussed taking her to the vet but we didn’t have a bean between us. My daughter could not find a job and had been sweeping up popcorn from cinema floors even though she had a Cambridge University degree.”
She said she had received some money from her teaching pension a few days earlier and had been planning to go to the vet as soon as her daughter returned home.
The trial continues.