A WOMAN was so bitter after allegedly being harassed by her landlords to leave her room that she rammed their cat into a council litter bin. But she was spotted by a road-sweeper, who rescued eight-year-old black-and-white Sasha before he could suffocate
A WOMAN was so bitter after allegedly being harassed by her landlords to leave her room that she rammed their cat into a council litter bin.
But she was spotted by a road-sweeper, who rescued eight-year-old black-and-white Sasha before he could suffocate or be crushed, a court heard.
Thirty-two-year-old Charlotte Bentham said she had returned to her room to find the animal had been locked inside for two days and had urinated and defecated on her bed.
After spending two hours cleaning up the mess, she scooped up the cat, stuffed it into a yellow sports holdall, drove to the market square in St Neots and rammed the bag with her knee into the narrow entrance of a litter bin.
Sasha was rescued the same day - March 13 - by the road sweeper and taken to Wood Green Animal Shelters in nearby Godmanchester. Following an article The Hunts Post, Sasha was reunited days later with his owner, largely unharmed.
A tearful Bentham, now of Park View Court, Eaton Ford, was fined £400, ordered to pay £350 costs and vets' fees, and banned from keeping animals for four years when she appeared before Huntingdonshire magistrates on Wednesday.
She had admitted cruelty to the cat and causing unnecessary suffering.
Prosecutor Hayley Saunders said a witness, who had been working on a building project nearby, had seen Bentham "used quite a lot of force" to put the cat in the bin.
Bentham's tale of harassment had emerged in an interview with RSPCA inspector Tim Hollis. She described a series of incidents of harassment from her landlords, claiming they wanted to force her out of the house.
She told him: "I don't know why I did it. It was the owners' fault, not the cats. But at the time nothing was registering."
Bentham apologised profusely to the magistrates, explaining that her parents had bred animals. "I have never done anything like this before. I was under a lot of stress.
"The owners wanted to do their house up and they wanted me to leave. When I said I was having problems finding somewhere to move to, they tried to force me out. They would bang on my door at 3am and come into my room and try to take the bedcovers off me."
Bentham accepted that she faced a potential ban on keeping pets. "I would understand if the court decided to ban me from keeping animals. I'm very ashamed of what I've done, and I'll accept the court's decision," she sobbed.
After the case, Mr Hollis welcomed the court's decision. "What could have happened to the animal, not what did happen, is what matters," he said.