A man who abandoned his two cats after moving from his home in Great Ryburgh has been banned from keeping animals for five years.
Winston Amos, 43, now of Osborne Road, Wisbech, left his cats Smudge and Fluffy outside the property in North Norfolk for almost a week, a hearing at Lynn Magistrates’ Court was told on Wednesday.
Jonathan Eales, prosecuting, told the court that a neighbour in Great Ryburgh saw Mr Amos and his wife leave their property with their belongings on March 13, leaving the cats locked in the kitchen.
Mr Eales said by March 16 the neighbour had “had enough” and contacted the RSPCA, and the pair returned on March 17 – but this time the animals were left outside of the property.
The court heard that the cats were kept fed and watered by the neighbour until they were recovered by the RSPCA a week later.
Mr Eales said: “An RSPCA inspector tracked the owners down and took a statement from them. Each of them admitted they were the owners and they moved in a hurry.
“They did say the cats ran away just before the were going to leave. When interviewed, both of them said they never had any intention of going back to the property to find them.”
He said both cats were found to have ear mites and a flea infestation, and one was pregnant.
The couple, who were both charged with two counts of failing to ensure the welfare needs of an animal, did not attend the court hearing.
In a letter sent to the court, Mr Amos admitted the offences and said he had been suffering with anxiety and depression.
Mr Amos said: “I had been out of work for two years, but I found work and that’s why I moved.”
He also said he was now on his own at the property in Wisbech.
Mrs Amos’ case was adjourned until November to allow time to contact her.
Mr Eales said: “At the end of the day they failed in their duty of care and simply abandoned them, hoping they might survive.
“It is quite common that people moving house abandon their cats because they believe they can live outside and they will look after themselves.”
Chairman of the bench William Hush banned Mr Amos from keeping animals for five years, fined him £440 and ordered him to pay £120 in costs.
Mr Hush made a deprivation order so the cats can be rehomed.