A cat owner whose pet was dragged from a fence and mauled to death by a dog today said its owner should have been jailed.
Shocking footage showed heartless Stephanie Curwen, 24, encourage her dog Duke to repeatedly jump up at Regi, a black Bengal cat, until it fell from a fence into the road.
She then watched as the tiny pet was killed by the dog without trying to stop it.
The attack was only brought to an end when a brave neighbour pulled the kitten from the dog’s mouth.
Curwen, of Walter Avenue, St Annes, formerly of Central Drive, Blackpool, walked free from court yesterday after pleading guilty to causing an animal to fight and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
She was handed a 24 week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was banned from keeping or owning all animals for 10 years.
Speaking outside Blackpool Magistrates Court, Regi’s owner Lesley-Anne Brocklehurst slammed the sentence Curwen was handed.
She said: “I’m happy about the ban but she should have gone to prison for what she did.
“Hopefully then it might sink in what she did, and how cruel it was.
“She’s not sorry for her actions, she hasn’t gone out of her way to apologise to me and my family.
“She seemed to be getting a lot of pleasure out of it so maybe it’s not the first time she’s done something like this.
“It’s not about us, it’s about our cat. I just want justice for him, and sadly I don’t feel we’ve got that.”
Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Jonathan Fail said the only attempts to save the kitten from its cruel fate was when Craig Hargreaves, a neighbour of the cat’s owner, pulled it from the dog’s mouth outside the property on Baron Road, South Shore.
Mr Fail told magistrates said: “He pulled the dog back with one finger by the collar. No resistance was fought.
“There was no growling or suggestion of aggression and he indicated to the woman that she should put the dog on a lead.
“He felt two heartbeats from the cat and then nothing and the cat appeared to be dead.”
Mr Fail said the neighbour described how the woman said “naughty” to the dog, but not in a way to be telling it off.
A vet’s examination of six-month-old kitten Regi found him to have two bite wounds and he died from a punctured lung.
A description of graphic CCTV footage read out to the court detailed how the cat had been sitting on a fence when the dog saw it and jumped up.
He then started to walk away but Curwen pointed to the cat and encouraged the dog to jump up at it again.
The cat eventually came off the post and ran into the road, while Curwen let the dog off the lead, and it went after the animal.
Mr Fail said: “Throughout the whole of the attack, the female made no attempt to stop it.
“In effect she seemed to be encouraging the whole incident.”
The court heard that when Curwen was interviewed by police she claimed she didn’t think her dog would actually catch the cat.
David Charnley, defending Curwen, said: “Clearly this is a very sad and tragic case which couldn’t and shouldn’t have happened.
“This defendant has learned a very salutary lesson. She said she didn’t expect to happen what did happen.”
Curwen was also ordered to pay £200 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
Mr Hargreaves, 45, was in court to hear the verdict.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “What makes us the most upset is that she just laughed throughout, she didn’t have an ounce of respect for that poor animal.
“I managed to pull the dog away from the cat using one finger, it was as vicious as a playful puppy.
“I feel sorry for the dog that he was subjected to such cruel owners. It wasn’t interested in the cat it would have carried on down the street and got home without any problem.
“I’m glad the whole thing has been sorted and she’s been punished for her actions.”
Mother-of-three Mrs Brocklehurst said she initially believed Curwen’s claims that it had all happened in a “split second”, until she watched the graphic footage captured by her neighbour’s CCTV.
“One of my neighbours went and got the dog off and took the kitten out of his mouth,” she said.
“She told him it all happened in a split second. She lied to everyone.
“But something didn’t feel right and we believed what she said.
“Yet something was niggling away at me so I asked my neighbour to look at the footage.
“The attack went on for about six-and-a-half minutes and she just stood by and watched.
“It was horrendous, it didn’t happen quickly. It happened very, very slowly.
“Clearly she got a lot of enjoyment out of it, she was laughing.”
Mrs Brocklehurst, a secretary for husband’s IT consultancy, added: “We had two dogs and two cats before this happened and now it’s changed the dynamics of the household.
“My neighbour who tried to help was absolutely mortified and still is to this day.
“I don’t think he’s really got over it.
Lesley-Anne dismissed Curwen’s claims of remorse and said: “She’s probably remorseful for the fact she chose to walk down a road with cameras all over it.
“Had we not have had the cameras she would have got away with it. I’m glad that we had the cameras and I’m hoping it will make people think twice about what they are doing.
The dog has since been rehomed.
Mrs Brockleburst added: “I have never wanted the dog to be destroyed. It was quite clear that it was only doing what it was told to do.“