A woman who committed ‘truly horrendous cruelty’ by cooking her kitten in a microwave has been jailed for 14 weeks - and banned for keeping animals for life. Laura Cunliffe, aged 23, of Hoyland, near Barnsley, put one-year-old black and white kitten Mowgli into her microwave and set the timer for five minutes, Barnsley Magistrates’ Court heard today.
She ‘came to her senses’ after one minute, when she took the pet out, and poured water on the kitten to cool it down.
But the animal died in agony around an hour later, its internal organs having been cooked from the inside.
Jailing Cunliffe, District Judge John Foster told her: “This was an act of truly horrendous cruelty on your part, to an animal that had come to trust you and rely on you.”
Prosecutor Brian Orsborn told the court that, on September 28 last year, Cunliffe was woken by her cat who jumped onto her bed.
When she went downstairs, Cunliffe noticed her pet goldfish was dead and immediately blamed the cat.
“Upon her discovery she was upset and angry with the cat - so she put it in the microwave,” Mr Orsborn said.
“She then took the cat out of the microwave and put it on her kitchen side.
“The cat was still breathing, so she contacted her step-sister and took the cat to her house, where it subsequently died.”
Cunliffe’s crime only came to light when she checked herself into Barnsley Hospital the next day – for an unrelated matter – where she made a ‘tearful confession’ to a nurse on the ward.
She was seen by two nurses, who both deemed her mentally stable despite a background of mental health problems, and reported the matter to the RSPCA.
An RSPCA officer then conducted an interview with Cunliffe’s step-sister.
A transcript of the interview read out in court by Mr Orsborn said: “Her step-sister said the cat was ‘proper screeching’ and was wet when she arrived.
“She asked Cunliffe what she had done, and she said she had poured water on it to cool it down.”
The cat survived for about an hour after being put in the microwave.
A statement from an expert vet was also read out in court, which said: “In my opinion, the animal would have suffered immensely. The ordeal would have been hugely painful and would have resulted in organ failure.”
Jailing Cunliffe to an immediate 14-week prison sentence, District Judge Foster told her: “You were aware of what you were doing.
“This was an act of truly horrendous cruelty. The animal suffered great pain and that suffering was entirely foreseeable from the moment you chose to do what you did.”
Judge Foster also handed Cunliffe a lifetime ban on keeping animals, adding no appeal could be considered within the next five years.
She was also ordered to pay £776 in vets’ costs.