Grandmother tells of her heartbreak as thugs kick beloved pet cat to death
A Co Antrim woman says she is devastated after teenagers kicked her beloved cat around like a football and left him to die.
Grandmother Lynne Campbell, from Crumlin, claims her neighbour saw two young thugs attacking her black cat Tom at the beginning of October.
She said: "She thought they were actually kicking a football until she heard one of them saying 'He's crawled under this car'. They were trying to get him out. She opened the door and they ran away. Then she saw Tom crawling out from under the car."
He made it home but it wasn't until a few days later that Ms Campbell realised how ill he was.
He was left with serious internal injuries and despite a long battle to save his life, he died last week.
She said: "The vet fought to try and save him but it was just too much. He was beyond saving."
Ms Campbell said that the cat was well-known in the area after he heroically saved one of her elderly neighbours. "A while ago, there was an elderly lady here who had fallen outside the back of her house and he got help for her," she said.
"He kept making a strange noise until we followed him and we found the lady who had lived here for many years. Once we found her, he stopped making the strange noises."
He visited many of the people living in the area and Ms Campbell said he was loved by the whole community.
Ms Campbell rescued the cat after he turned up as a stray around seven-and-a-half years ago. She said her son spent his pocket money on nursing Tom back to health and he was very much part of the family.
She said she is still distraught that he died in this way. "Every time I think about this, I cry," she said. "He was such a good little cat. It was so cruel to put him through that. What sort of people are they?
"It's just horrible. it's like losing part of the family."
Ms Campbell believes that this isn't the only case of an animal being attacked in this way.
She said: "There was another cat that was killed in similar circumstances that weekend. It was left close to where my neighbour saw Tom being attacked. It's just awful."
The Animal Welfare service of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council confirmed yesterday that they are aware of the incident of alleged animal neglect and they are currently investigating.
Ms Campbell said: "I'd love to see these people caught but what do they get if they do get caught? There's no real punishment. I would hate to think of anybody else's pet going through that."
Last week, Justice Minister David Ford said that the Department of Justice is currently considering the feasibility of a central register of those convicted of animal cruelty offences as part of the review into the Implementation of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.
The register would allow DARD, Local councils and the PSNI access to conviction data. The Minister is also considering if it would be possible to share this data with animal re-homing charities. He has recently agreed to increase the statutory maximum penalties for those convicted of animal cruelty to "ensure Northern Ireland has among the toughest statutory maximum penalties for animal cruelty on these islands".
Animal cruelty offences will also be added to the list of offences that can be referred to the Court of Appeal where sentences handed down in Crown Court cases are considered unduly lenient.