Cat starved to death after owner claimed it was missing

Stephen Smith said his pet cat Molly was missing before she was found dead in his squalid home.

Cat starved to death after owner claimed it was missing Matthew Newby via SWNS

A cat was found starved to death under a bed in a faeces-ridden house after its owner claimed the pet was missing.

Stephen Smith, 43, told animal welfare officers pet cat Molly was missing, but she was found dead in his squalid house after suffering organ failure due to severe malnutrition.

Scottish SPCA inspectors described the living conditions at Smith’s house in Newarthill, North Lanarkshire, as ‘the worst they had ever encountered’.

The disgusted officer who found Molly, on June 27, said she couldn’t see the floor due to mounds of rubbish and animal faeces and that it was no place for a human or animal to live.

Smith was fined £420 at Hamilton Sheriff Court on December 16 and banned from keeping cats for a year.

He failed to provide Molly with a safe, clean living environment and an adequate diet between April and June 2020.

Smith told officers he had not been living there but returned to feed Molly every few days, but welfare chiefs said the cat hadn’t been fed for two months.

Inspector Dawn Robertson said: “A call came in to our animal helpline reporting welfare concerns about a cat, who we later found out was Molly, in Smith’s property.

“The caller told us that Smith left Molly in the property for long periods.

“We attended the address and found nobody to be home.

“We had immediate concerns due to the strong smell coming from inside the property.

“We returned the following day and were again met with no response.

“Working on intelligence, we obtained the address of where Smith was staying and found him there.

“Smith agreed to allow us entry to his home on the High Street where he had left Molly.

“Upon entering the house there was an overwhelming stench of ammonia and faeces.

“The property was in an appalling state.

“The floor wasn’t visible due to rubbish, damaged furniture and appliances throughout.

“There was faeces and dirt everywhere.

“It was no place for a human or animal.

“The living conditions were some of the worst I have ever encountered.

“There was only one litter tray in the property and was overflowing.

“The bathroom was covered in faeces and it would appear this is where Molly had been toileting.

“There was no sign of Molly in the house.

“Smith claimed she had been missing since June 25.

“After a thorough search of the property, Molly’s extremely thin, malnourished body was discovered under a bed in the bedroom.

“A post-mortem found that Molly suffered organ failure due to severe malnutrition.

“It would have taken at least two months for her to come to be in this condition.

“Due to the extent of Molly’s condition, we believe that Molly had not been fed at all over the two-month period.

“Molly would have been caused to suffer considerably in becoming this thin and living in the awful conditions at Smith’s property.

“We believe that any conviction is a success but we are disappointed with the sentence Smith received.

“We were hoping for a sentence that reflected the level of neglect in this case.

“Molly’s death was entirely avoidable if Smith had provided her with even the most basic of care.

“She suffered directly due to Smith’s actions and he is ultimately responsible for her death.”

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