A catering manager at a Snowdonia hotel was given a suspended jail sentence yesterday (31 May) for killing a feral cat that had wandered into the kitchen.
Dylan Edwards described to a probation officer how the "underfed, dirty and wild" cat had been put in a black bag and he held it down while, he claimed, a staff member hit it twice on the head to kill it.
"He said he acted because he was concerned for the kitchen's reputation," magistrates at Llandudno in North Wales heard. "He said it was an incident that haunts him."
Edwards pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and was given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work, and must pay £865 in costs.
Edwards, catering manager at the 27-bedroom, three-AA-star Royal Oak hotel in Betws-y-Coed, was sacked after 32 years' service after the incident became known. Another staff member was also summarily dismissed.
Efforts were made by the RSPCA to locate the body of the cat, including an unsuccessful search at a waste disposal site.
Tudur Owen, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: "Killing a cat by putting it in a bag and hitting it with a piece of wood is not an acceptable form of euthanasia or any way of dealing with an animal."
Solicitor Melissa Griffiths, defending, said Edwards had been vilified since the incident to such an extent that he had become a hermit inside his own home and "refused service" in his home town Llanrwst.
There had been some misinformation in a "media storm", she said, including a claim that a rolling pin had been used. One of his colleagues had been scratched by the cat and he was worried that if it was released it would return to the kitchen, where it had defecated and urinated. What happened was a one-off incident in which he felt, wrongly, that he was acting in the interests of the hotel, and he was genuinely remorseful.
Court chairwoman Suzanne Dixon, passing sentence, said it was "a deliberate act which resulted in in the death of a cat".
The court heard that the case against Lyndon Marshall, 36, who had pleaded not guilty to an animal welfare charge, had been dropped by the RSPCA.
After the case RSPCA inspector Phil Lewis said: "We are pleased with the sentence because the crime was deliberate, pre-planned - a heinous act. The cat must have suffered distress and fear."
Videos from The Caterer archives