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Friday, Mar 31, 2000
Defendant/Suspect: Edward Masters
Edward Masters, 50, after a day-long hearing was found guilty of causing unnecessary cruelty by Yeovil magistrates for killing a neighbor's cat, but they cleared him of a charge of setting an illegal snare. He will be sentenced in May 2000.
Masters killed his neighbor's pedigree cat, Jade, an Abyssinian in one of the traps he set to stop the animal damaging his lawn.
Inspectors of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals searched Masters' property and found fragments of glass with points upright in soil; lengths of carpet gripper nailed, tacks upward, to a garden gate and strands of fishing wire running through the hedge.
Jade was found by her owner, Mrs Ruddle, hanging by her neck in the hedge between their properties. Mrs Ruddle told Yeovil magistrates, "I last saw Jade in the afternoon. She was sunning herself on the window. Later that day I went out to look for her but it was not until the next morning that I found her. I pulled back the bushes and saw her hanging by the neck in hedge. I screamed. I could not believe what I had found. I was hysterical and I went back inside to get my husband."
Mr Ruddle went next door to confront his neighbor, Edward Masters, and saw him crouching below a worktop.
Masters claimed the glass and carpet gripper in his garden had been placed to stop burgulars. He told the court he had nothing to hide. He said, "I am absolutely sure I have never had a problem with cats. I have just been trying to keep them off my lawn. It has been a problem for 35 years. They were defecating on my lawn."
The RSPCA recommends responsible use of a water pistol to get rid of unwanted cats. They also suggest stretching lengths of cotton thread above flower beds and planting prickily bushes.
- The Daily Telegraph, London - Apr 11, 2000
- The Times, London - Apr 11, 2000
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