Heartbreaking Tragedy: Family Faces Lifetime Ban After Starving Cats Devour Kitten

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Four members of a family have received a lifetime ban from keeping animals after the RSPCA discovered a deceased kitten and seven severely malnourished cats in a house in Bradford. A veterinarian examination revealed that the six-week-old kitten had been attacked by the other cats because they were desperate for food. The living conditions for all the cats were found to be extremely poor at the property on Fernbank Road in Bradford Moor.

In proceedings at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court on September 13, Dawn Mawson, 49, currently residing on Lowfield Road in Tetbury, was found guilty of four offenses under the Animal Welfare Act. Sabrina Mawson, 23, also of Lowfield Road, Tetbury, was convicted of the same offenses as her mother. Elisha Mawson, 23, of Wycliffe Gardens in Shipley, was convicted of two animal welfare offenses. Elizabeth Mawson, 25, of Durkheim Court in Bradford Moor, was convicted of three animal welfare offenses after a trial, despite initially pleading not guilty to all charges.

It was revealed in court that the deceased kitten’s body was handed over to RSPCA inspector Kris Walker by a former partner of Elizabeth when he visited the property on August 30, 2019. The inspector discovered two cats, Kit and Bubbles, confined in unsanitary crates in the kitchen. Additionally, five other cats—Coco, Molly, Ginger, Bella, and Mimi—were found roaming freely in the home. Fortunately, all seven cats showed significant improvement under the care of the RSPCA and were successfully rehomed, some with their long-term foster carers.

A post-mortem examination determined that the injuries on the kitten’s neck and head were likely bite marks, and in conjunction with its poor physical condition, led to its unfortunate demise. The vet’s report suggested, “The fact that the other cats in the house attacked him (the kitten) is quite unusual, and it is possible they had done this as they saw him as a source of much-needed food.”

The magistrates emphasized, “It is abundantly clear that the welfare needs of these animals were simply not met. This has been one of the worst cases of animal neglect. Custody was a real option we considered in this case.”

Following the case, RSPCA inspector Walker commented, “It was awful the state these cats had been left in and how hungry they were when we took them to the vets. Sadly, they were so hungry that they had picked off the weakest link among them.”