A COWARDLY animal abuser who caused 'serious harm' to a pet cat has been jailed and banned from keeping animals for five years.

Harry Taberner, aged 30, caused unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, namely a tabby called Tallulah, on January 11, 2021 in Chickerell.

It is understood he was looking after the cat for someone at the time.

Some patches of fur were found to be missing from the cat following the abuse.

Taberner, now of of Stamford Avenue, Altrincham, Greater Manchester, was due to appear at Weymouth Magistrates' Court in May regarding the sickening offence - but did not show up.

He was found guilty in his absence on May 25 in a prosecution brought by the RSPCA and a warrant for his arrest was issued. 

He was sentenced on Tuesday, July 18 at Chester Magistrates' Court where he was sent to prison for 20 weeks.

Dorset Echo:

The court said that Taberner's vile offence was so serious because of 'prolonged sadistic behaviour towards an animal, causing serious harm'.

He inflicted cruel physical abuse on the cat, contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The RSPCA said an expert vet report concluded that the cat sustained non-accidental injuries.

Tallulah suffered injury to the 'subcutaneous tissues of the back and neck which resulted in significant fluid accumulation and pain'. There were a number of areas of fur loss and skin abrasion and the vet said it was 'highly unlikely the injuries occurred accidentally - they would have required human involvement'.

The court was told that on the morning of January 12, 2021 a number of witnesses reported the cat to be distressed with wet fur and some areas of fur missing, which led to the alarm being raised.

Taberner was also told to pay costs of £128 and has been banned from owning animals for five years.

He pleaded guilty to failing to surrender to custody at Weymouth Magistrates' Court on two occasions in January and March of this year. 

He was sentenced to one week in prison for each occasion which was added to the 18 weeks he received for the animal abuse offence.

Speaking after the sentencing, Chickerell councillor and town mayor Mike Joliffe said of the defendant: “He deserves everything he gets, and more.

“I have animals myself and I could never think of doing anything to harm them.

“It is appalling that someone could intentionally harm a defenceless animal like that.”