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Cat owner caused horrific injuries after pouring boiling water on pet

Ashley Porter, 30, pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offenses when he appeared before magistrates in Manchester on August 23. The court heard that her seven-year-old cat Shadow suffered severe burns to her head, neck, shoulders, body and legs and was unable to walk on her feet.

Porter claims the cat snagged a bottle of boiling water with its tail before it fell on top of him – but an independent veterinary expert said there was evidence the injuries were caused by water deliberately dumped.

The RSPCA was called to the address on January 19, 2020, after a member of the public expressed concern that Shadow had been seriously injured for several days and had not been to the vet.

There was no response from the address, so another RSPCA inspector called Porter, who refused to hand over his cat despite confirmation that he was injured and “in distress”. Porter said he was making an appointment with the vet for the next day.

The RSPCA checked with Porter’s vet the next day and found there was no appointment, so inspectors Catherine Byrnes and Helen Chapman returned to the property. This time Potter brought the cat to the door and agreed to take him to the vet for treatment.

Inspector Burns said: ‘The poor cat had numerous untreated wounds all over his body, face and ears. It appeared to be an untreated burn, clearly visible in the cat’s fur. The skin seemed in places to loosen and a dry patch of tissue was visible on the cat’s back. I can see the cat’s fur coming off in pieces.

“Mr Potter claimed the cat, named Shadow, ‘tipped over’ a kettle and hot water fell on him. He said he didn’t have the money to take him to a local vet and agreed to let us treat him.

Shadow was transported by the RSPCA to the Wendy Lane veterinary team in Rochdale, where his injuries were fully exposed. They discovered that Shadow had scalded several parts of his body, including his head, neck, right shoulder, and the side of his chest, while some of his claws had fallen off.

Inspector Burns said: ‘When I took the cat out of the pet crate I noticed a lot of hair on the cat and some of it fell out of the basket. The wounds were quite large, the largest of which was on his back and on the lower right, some wounds were covered by his coat.

“The wound had a strong smell. There was a wound behind the cat’s right ear, the skin and fur fell off in a thick lump and I noticed pus underneath.

“Also noteworthy now is a large scald wound that extended from the inside of the animal’s right forelimb through its chest, down inside and under the left forelimb. Shadow’s feet and pads were also scalded. The cat walked cautiously. The vet pointed out that the animal also lacked nails. The cat is clearly in a lot of pain.

Vets calmed the cat and clipped its coat to reveal all of its injuries. They were cleaned and he was put on a drip in an isolation room to recover.

Amazingly, Shadow recovered well and was adopted into a loving home.

He had to have one ear amputated due to severe burns. It was feared that he might also lose his right eye, but luckily that was not necessary.

He now has to wear a special vest to prevent him from scratching the healing wound, but he is enjoying his new life as a house cat. His new owner says he enjoys “cuddling and showing love” the most.

He’s been afraid of men for months, but now he’s more confident and enjoying life.

Along with the ban on keeping any animals, Porter was jailed for 18 weeks, suspended for 12 months, fined £260 and ordered to pay £260 in costs.

An independent veterinary expert told the court the injuries were intentional.

The vet said: ‘Unusually severe burns also occurred on the lower chest, inner forelimbs and all four feet. The scalding pattern was inconsistent with the alleged accidental mechanism. The shadows would suffer from burns. The mechanism suffers for at least five days or more.

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