ONE year ago, city residents were left feeling distraught after a man caused fractures and what were believed to be burns to his 12-week-old pet kitten’s head.

Joe Purvis, who previously attended Heart of Worcestershire College, accepted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal when appearing before Worcester Magistrates Court in February 2019.

The 25-year-old took his Maine Coon cat, named Indico, who he had bought for £50 on Facebook, to a vet and it was found to have three fractures to its skull as well as marks to the top of its head.

Purvis, of William Tennant Way, Upton-upon-Severn, admitted he had given the kitten a “back-hander” in reaction to it biting him, which caused the fractures, the court heard.

He claimed the marks on the cat’s head were caused when the kitten hit its head on a tap while he was cleaning it, after it had defecated on itself and him.

The solicitor said Purvis claims the cat came “into contact with the tap in a way that it shouldn’t have done” after being startled by the water.

However, the vet did not believe the marks, which they said appeared to be burns that were several days older than Purvis claimed, were consistent with the incident he described, and raised the alarm with the RSPCA.

Sara Pratt, prosecuting, said the injury to the head was the size of a two pence piece and there was “fur missing” from the area.


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The vet also said further “clumps of hair came off on their fingertips” during examination.

Mrs Pratt said the defendant had taken the kitten to Coldicott & Kingsway Veterinary Clinic in Tewkesbury the previous September and she had such severe injuries to her leg that they had no choice but to amputate it.

That November, Purvis then took her again to the vets and was described by staff as smelling “overwhelmingly of cannabis”.

Purvis said to the vets he “couldn’t cope with such a demanding animal” and that she was the “first and last” pet he would ever own.

The court heard that Purvis had been unable to sleep the night of the incident and had toyed with the idea of taking her somewhere to “let her go as a stray” but decided to take her to the clinic instead.

The vets told him Indico needed an x-ray, but he said he didn’t have any money and “did not want the cat” before becoming “verbally aggressive”.

When veterinary staff wouldn’t agree to take the kitten off him, he told them there was “no proof” he owned her anyway.

In March 2019, Purvis - who his solicitor described as “an animal lover” - avoided jail.

The court had heard Purvis suffered from mental health problems and took medication.

He was given bail with the condition that he does not have ownership or control of any animals.

Purvis was ordered to pay court costs of £400 and a £115 victim surcharge.

A flurry of angry comments was posted on the Worcester News story where readers voiced their fury towards the ‘scumbag’.

billbadger said: “Absolute scumbag.”

Mobey said: “What a joke, the mental health card yet again!”

villapete said: “Please jail this low life. How cruel can a person be. If ‘person’ is the appropriate word.”

Weallneedlove said: “Jail the scum.”

Mama-Cuddles01 said: “Heart-breaking. Not man enough to pick on someone his own size so picks on a defenceless animal. Pure scum."

Crowbait said: “What a thoroughly obnoxious cretinous individual!”

The cat was taken into care by the RSPCA.

A new bill has been proposed where convicted animal abusers could face tougher jail sentences. The introduction of the proposed legislation will mean courts could have the power to sentence someone up to five years instead of six months currently, for crimes such as neglect, cruel treatment and dog fighting.

This has been backed by the government, which followed a public consultation in 2017 which found 70 per cent of people backed tougher sentences for animal cruelty.