A man has been fined by the courts after he admitted leaving cat food laced with antifreeze in his front garden, which led to the death of a neighbour’s cat.

Stephen Welch (DOB 11/01/1958), of Snowshill Close, Daventry, appeared at Northampton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (3 January), where he pleaded guilty to leaving out the antifreeze, under section 7 of the Animal Welfare Act, in a case brought by the RSPCA.

Magistrates fined him £746 and ordered him to pay costs of £300 and a £74 victim surcharge.

The court heard that Welch put a bowl of cat food diluted with antifreeze beneath his car on 27 September this year, after a neighbour’s cat injured a bird in his front garden

The cat, a four-year-old black and white male named Charlie, ate the food and became ill. He was put to sleep the following day to end his suffering.

RSPCA inspector Susan Haywood said: “Welch admitted to putting the antifreeze down as he wanted to scare the cat away from his front garden, where he regularly fed wild birds. He said that he didn’t intend for Charlie to die, however very sadly antifreeze is extremely toxic and can cause kidney failure and death.

“When Charlie returned home he was struggling to walk and was crying. His owners took him to a vets, where sadly he deteriorated and was put to sleep later that day. Tests confirmed that he had ingested antifreeze.

“Charlie would have been in considerable pain in his last few hours as a result of this. It is extremely important for us to get the message out there that antifreeze is a very toxic substance which can cause unnecessary suffering to animals if it is ingested.”

Signs of poisoning can be seen anything from 30 minutes after a cat has ingested the chemical, though it can be two or three days before signs of kidney failure are seen.

The signs of poisoning can include one, or several of the following:

  • —  Vomiting

  • —  Seeming depressed or sleepy

  • —  Appearing drunk and uncoordinated

  • —  Seizures

  • —  Difficulty breathing

If you suspect that your cat has been poisoned you should take it to a vet immediately. If possible, you should take a sample of what the cat has eaten/drunk, or the container.