Marshmallow the kitten, approximately 9 weeks old in this photo. Picture: Belinda Stevens
Marshmallow the kitten, approximately 9 weeks old in this photo. Picture: Belinda Stevens

Daughter flees with cat’s body as mum claims cover-up

A WOMAN who said an RSPCA vet euthanised her kitten without consent has told her 12-year-old daughter to flee with the cat's frozen body after inspectors appeared at her door with a warrant to inspect her property.

Belinda Stevens, 39, of Redbank Plains said RSPCA inspectors entered her home on February 27, just days after her sick 11-week-old kitten was unexpectedly put to sleep at the RSPCA on 139 Wacol Rd, Wacol, following a misunderstanding over the ownership of the cat.

Miss Stevens had become upset when she realised Marshmallow was dead, grabbed the kitten's body and took her home, so when RSPCA inspectors showed up at her door, she believed they wanted to take the kitten.

"They wanted to grab Marshmallow's body to get rid of the evidence of them stuffing up," she said.

"The warrant said they had a right to seize an animal living or dead.

"So I told my daughter to take Marshmallow, to jump the fence and hide and to not come out until I told her."

She also told the Courier Mail she realised later the warrant had the wrong date.

But a statement released by the RSPCA said inspectors executed a search warrant at the Steven's home after they said they discovered Marshmallow's owner had previously surrendered four cats at Wacol on separate occasions since October 2017.

Each of those cats needed urgent veterinary care, with two of them having to be euthanised due to their poor conditions, according to the statement.

It said a third cat died an unassisted death and the fourth was treated by the RSPCA and rehomed.

Miss Stevens said only one of those cats belonged to her, with the other three being strays.

The RSPCA statement also said Marshmallow was near death when she was delivered to the RSPCA about 8pm on February 25.

 

Marshmallow the kitten, approximately 9 weeks old in this photo. Picture: Belinda Stevens
Marshmallow the kitten, approximately 9 weeks old in this photo. Picture: Belinda Stevens

"It was cold, semi-comatose, in lateral recumbency, cyanotic (blue from lack of oxygen), gasping for air, with a sub normal temperature and unresponsive," it stated.

"The owner stated that this had happened previously with the kitten and she had cuddled it and it recovered, but no veterinary attention had been sought."

It was determined euthanasia was the best option for Marshmallow, but the statement said Miss Stevens took the kitten's body before an autopsy was able to be carried out.

The cleaner said she took the lethargic Marshmallow to the RSPCA as it was the closest vet to where she was working that night.

She said she was then told the cat had been put to sleep without consultation or her consent.

RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said an apology had been given to the Stevens family, along with offers to cremate Marshmallow for free.

He said, as the RSPCA at Wacol only treats wildlife or their own foster or pound animals and not pets, the vet nurse at the reception assumed Miss Stevens was fostering the kitten.

The mother-of-five was issued with an Animal Welfare Direction under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 after the inspectors said they found four dogs, eight kittens from two separate litters and four adult cats on her property.

The order stated Miss Stevens must worm and flea the animals, treat one dog's skin condition and attend to the matting of a coat on another dog.

None of the animals were desexed and Miss Stevens declined an offer of assistance to fix the animals, according to the statement.

"I don't want their help, not after what they've done," she told the Courier Mail.

Miss Stevens said she was dog-sitting two of the dogs, and that two of the four were already desexed.

She also said one cat was desexed.

RSPCA Queensland Prosecutions Officer Tracey Jackson said the validity of warrants and admissibility of evidence obtained under the warrant was a matter for a court to determine.

 

 

Marshmallow the 11-week-old kitten was put down at the RSPCA at Wacol following a misunderstanding. Picture: Facebook
Marshmallow the 11-week-old kitten was put down at the RSPCA at Wacol following a misunderstanding. Picture: Facebook


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