The full details of the “extremely cruel” conditions a couple subjected their cat to have been revealed in court for the first time. WARNING: DISTRESSING IMAGES
The full details of the “extremely cruel” conditions a couple subjected their cat to have been revealed in court for the first time. WARNING: DISTRESSING IMAGES

Couple’s shocking cat cruelty revealed

A couple who kept a cat in "atrocious" and "simply cruel" conditions have been banned from owning any other animal for five years after appearing in Redcliffe Magistrates Court today.

Michelle Hursthouse, 47, and Gary Ferguson, 47, pleaded guilty to failing to provide appropriate living conditions for their cat and failing to take reasonable steps to provide food and treatment for disease and injury.

A statement of facts provided by the RSPCA prosecutor to Magistrate Mark Bucknall detailed the level of abuse.

Bear was kept in a carrier and let out for one hour every other day. PHOTO: SUPPLIED RSPCA
Bear was kept in a carrier and let out for one hour every other day. PHOTO: SUPPLIED RSPCA


The document detailed how the couple, who were living in a van at Pelican Park Clontarf in February this year, kept a brown, long haired tabby cat named Bear, in a cat carrier filled with its own faeces and urine for days.

It stated the cat was allowed out for just one hour every second day.

RSPCA were contacted about the cat on February 7.

When an RSPCA inspector attended the cat was underweight and unable to move when it was removed from the cat carrier.

Ferguson told the RSPCA inspector he could not let Bear out of the carrier as he would "pee and shit all over the van".

The cat carrier Bear was kept in was full of animal waste. PHOTO: SUPPLIED RSPCA
The cat carrier Bear was kept in was full of animal waste. PHOTO: SUPPLIED RSPCA

The couple agreed to send the cat to live with Hursthouse's daughter by February 10.

When the RSPCA inspector returned on February 11 the cat was still living in the carrier, covered by a towel, in the van.

The carrier had not been cleaned out and Bear had no access to water.

RSPCA seized the cat and took it to be looked over by the vet.

The document tendered to the court said the vet found Bear to be severely underweight, had discharge coming out of his ear due to an ear infection and dental disease.

Magistrate Bucknall, after reading the document, described the cat's living conditions as "atrocious" and "simply cruel".

Gary Ferguson appeared in Redcliffe Magistrates Court in relation to animal cruelty charges. PHOTO: FACEBOOK
Gary Ferguson appeared in Redcliffe Magistrates Court in relation to animal cruelty charges. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

"That behaviour is absolutely appalling," he said. "It was extremely cruel to do what you did."

Magistrate Bucknall said he was "disgusted" when he saw the photo of the carrier the cat was being kept in.

"You should be disgusted when you look at it," he said to the defendants.

"You should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves."

Magistrate Bucknall it was "unimaginable to think of the life of this cat and the suffering it endured".

Bear has been rehomed and is now back to a healthy weight.

Bear has been rehomed and is back to a healthy weight. PHOTO: RSPCA
Bear has been rehomed and is back to a healthy weight. PHOTO: RSPCA

Magistrate Bucknall said a fine was not an appropriate sentence and ordered each defendant to complete 60 hours of community service.

They were also banned from owning an animal for five years.

Both Ferguson and Hursthouse were ordered to pay $83.16 to cover the vet costs, $101.80 for legal costs and $250 each for professional costs.

No convictions were recorded.

Originally published as 'Unimaginable suffering': Couple's shocking cat cruelty revealed


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