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Jail term for man who poisoned neighbours’ cats

A man has been handed a jail term after admitting to poisoning his neighbours’ cats.

Tristian Paul Pearson, 44, of West Street, Bargoed in South Wales, was given an eight-month suspended sentence for targeting family pets – Luna and Bailey – and purposefully luring them into consuming the toxic substance ethylene glycol.

Luna and Bailey died shortly after the poisonings took place in early September 2021, when within a week of each other they returned home appearing very unwell.

Both cats seemed weak and wobbly on their legs, with male Persian Bailey dying before he could be seen by a vet.

Luna, who was later found to have kidney failure, had to be put to sleep by a vet to prevent her ongoing suffering.

At a hearing on Friday, Cardiff Crown Court heard how following their deaths the cats’ devastated owners, a father and daughter who lived in two separate houses near Pearson’s home, began searching their neighbours’ gardens.

Tubs containing the poison ethylene glycol which were found at the bottom of Pearson' garden in Bargoed, South Wales. (RSPCA/family handout)
Tubs containing the poison ethylene glycol which were found at the bottom of Pearson’ garden in Bargoed, South Wales. (RSPCA/family handout)

When they looked into the rear garden of Pearson’s property they spotted two pots, one which contained a bright blue liquid and another that appeared to have tuna in it.

The pots were passed to the RSPCA and both were found to have a high concentration of ethylene glycol, a highly toxic substance for cats.

An expert veterinary witness report concluded it was “very highly likely that this [the pots] was the source of ethylene glycol that caused the death of” Luna and Bailey.

And a vet statement added that the “effects of ethylene glycol poisoning cause a cat to suffer via the mechanism of dehydration with subsequent headaches, nausea, disorientation, weakness and collapse”.

Pearson pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals and his eight-month prison sentence was suspended for 18 months.

He was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work, and disqualified from keeping all animals for a period of five years; a ban which he may not contest for at least four years.

He was also ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.

Persian cat Bailey died shortly after consuming the liquid Pearson had placed at the bottom of his garden. (RSPCA/family handout)
Persian cat Bailey died before he could be seen by a vet. (RSPCA/family handout)

RSPCA inspector Simon Evans, who investigated the case, said: “These poor cats were deliberately tempted into digesting a substance that is incredibly dangerous for cats and ultimately proved fatal to them both.

“The two dishes found in the defendant’s garden contained a high concentration of the dangerous substance – and he admitted in court that he caused them to consume it, causing them to suffer unnecessarily.

“We hope this shocking, landmark case sends a clear message to anyone thinking of targeting cats in this way – this is wrong, illegal and will not be tolerated.”

The RSPCA believe it is the first case to be referred to a Crown Court following the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 coming into force last year.

The Act increased the maximum sentence that could be imposed on offenders from six months to five years.

Mr Evans added: “This case reminds us that pet poisonings do happen.

“Anyone fearing their cat may have been poisoned should try and remain calm, move the cat away from the source and contact a vet straight away.”