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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Community Service for Co Antrim woman convicted of striking and choking cat


Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has welcomed a conviction in the case of a woman who admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a cat.

April Thomas, 28, from Thornhill Parade in Ballyclare, was sentenced to 80 hours community service and banned from keeping felines for 10 years.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard that a council animal welfare officer received a complaint in May 2021 about an incident at the defendant’s home, which had been captured on video and showed Thomas striking and choking a cat.

District Judge George prohibited Thomas from keeping cats, looking after cats or being involved in anything to do with cats for the next 10 years. She was warned that any breach of that would be a criminal offence. The defendant was also ordered to pay £172 in legal costs.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Alderman Stephen Ross said:

“I welcome the outcome of this case and hope it serves as a warning to anyone who abuses animals.

“The Council gives a high priority to the welfare of domestic animals and operates a rigorous enforcement policy. Complaints will be investigated thoroughly and if evidence of animal cruelty is found, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action.”

Councillor Neil Kelly, Chair of the Operations Committee added:

“I would like to commend Council staff for this successful prosecution, and also thank the public for bringing the incident to the attention of animal welfare officers.

“This conviction sends a clear message that cruelty to animals will not be tolerated and there will be consequences.”

If you have concerns about the welfare of an animal, please contact Northern Region Animal Welfare team on 02825633134 or email



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