RSPCA prosecute family over cat's long hair.

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RSPCA prosecute family over cat's long hair.

Post  Admin on Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:22 pm

Richard and Samantha Byrnes express their relief after the Crown Prosecution Service steps in and orders the RSPCA to halt an animal cruelty case against them.

A family accused of ill-treating their pet cat by allowing its hair to grow too long, have spoken of their relief after prosecutors stepped in and ordered the RSPCA to drop a criminal case against them.

Richard and Samantha Byrnes were threatened with prison after welfare inspectors from the charity seized their 16-year-old cat, Claude, and told them he would have to be put down immediately.

The family claimed overzealous staff even refused to delay the procedure for a few hours to allow their two children to say goodbye to the much loved family pet.

After Claude was put to sleep last May, the RSPCA launched a prosecution against Mr and Mrs Byrnes, from Tring in Hertfordshire, alleging animal cruelty.

However the case was finally halted on Friday when the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) stepped in and ruled that it should be dropped.

Mr Brynes, 53, an accountant for Transport for London told the Sunday Times: “Although a massive weight has been lifted from our shoulders, we remain deeply upset by the way our lovely little cat was taken from us and destroyed by the RSPCA and by the subsequent behaviour of its officers.

“The RSPCA even refused to give our children an opportunity to say goodbye to a much beloved member of the family.”

The family was reported to the charity when a neighbour contacted inspectors to say that Claude’s hair was long and badly matted.

Mr and Mrs Byrnes insisted that Claude hated being groomed and had to be put under anaesthetic in order to have his fur trimmed.

But when a second complaint about the cat’s appearance was made to the RSPCA, inspectors took the animal and informed the family it was to be put down.

The family agreed their pet was probably nearing the end of its life, but asked for a little more time to allow the children to say goodbye.

Their request was refused and after Claude was put to sleep the family was informed they were to be prosecuted on cruelty charges.

Sarah-Lise Howe, the barrister who represented the family said: “The right for this very lovely family to decide when their much loved and cared for pet should be put down should never have been removed from them by the RSPCA.”

A spokesman for the charity said it had been concerned for Claude’s welfare and only prosecuted when necessary.

But the CPS ruled that there was insufficient evidence to pursue two charges and ruled that it was not in the public interest to pursue two others.

The RSPCA has been criticised recently for what has been described as an overzealous approach to some animal welfare cases.

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