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Banned from owning animals

The SSPCA supplied this photograph to show the extent of the wounds Stripe the cat was suffering from.

A LOCAL SSPCA inspector has described the case of a neglected cat who had to be put down due to the extent of its wounds as one of the worst cases she has ever seen.

Michael Fraser, of 15 Norderhoull, Voe, was given a lifetime ban on keeping animals at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Fraser admitted failing to provide treatment for the animal between 27 April and 27 June last year, causing the cat to suffer.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said the 54 year old was effectively “waiting for nature to take its course” on the cat, which he had owned for a decade.

He initially tried using antiseptic cream on the wound, but knew the injury was getting “progressively worse”.

His neighbour eventually decided to take the cat to the vet and not wanting to get the man in trouble, said it was a stray.

However, enquiries led back to Fraser and the SSPCA became involved before taking ownership of the cat.

Despite skin grafts and surgeries, the suffering had “simply gone too far” and the cat was put down.

“This is probably as bad of an injury to an animal a court may see,” Mackenzie concluded.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client had financial concerns over vet treatment and accepts responsibility for the offence.

The injury occurred after a previous neck wound was reopened during a fight with another cat, he said.

Allan said he had to tell Fraser, who thought his pet had run away, that the cat had died. “He hoped the cat had found a happy home,” he said.

The defence agent said the cat was initially a stray that hung around Fraser’s home before he accepted it as his own.

Sheriff Philip Mann said there was “no doubt that the cat must have suffered significantly”, despite Fraser not intending to cause harm.

He decided to ban the man from owning or keeping animals for life, with Fraser only able to apply for a relaxation or removal of the order after seven years.

The man from Voe was also fined £200.

Commenting on the investigation and court case, Inspector Louise Sales said, “Fraser stated that he knew Stripe had a severe neck wound, but didn’t believe he should be treated for his condition and that nature should be left to take its course.

“He explained that the wound had started as a small flea bite on the back of Stripe’s neck and over the course of many months it had gradually become worse and more infected.

“When I asked Fraser why he had not taken Stripe to the vets to receive the treatment and pain relief he clearly needed, he replied that he did not believe in taking animals to a vet.

“This was by far one of the worst cases I have seen. Stripe’s suffering due to his horrendous wound was entirely preventable and could easily have been avoided.

“Sadly, Stripe’s wound was so badly infected and had been left for so long that the infection would not heal and a vet advised the kindest and only option was to put him to sleep to end his suffering. Had earlier vet treatment been sought this would not have happened.

“I am pleased Fraser has been dealt with by the court and that he has received a life ban on keeping any animals.”