Five-year ban for ‘callous’ OAP who threw kittens over bridge

Maureen Mountain at Jedburgh Sheriff Court
Maureen Mountain at Jedburgh Sheriff Court

A DRUNKEN pensioner who tied two kittens in a sack and threw them over a bridge has been described as “callous beyond belief”.

Sixty-three-year-old Maureen Mountain, formerly of Park Street but now living in Argyll, has been banned from keeping animals for five years and also fined £150, after admitting abandoning the animals and causing them unnecessary suffering on August 26 last year.

The kittens were discovered by a member of the public out walking their dog at 7am on the old railway path between Melgund Place and Linden Crescent, soaked in their own urine and left for dead several hours earlier. Mountain later said she had panicked as she had been due to go on holiday, and after splitting up with her partner had been drinking heavily.

But Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “This was a shocking case of deliberate cruelty. As well as a ban on keeping animals, Mountain also now has a conviction for abandoning her two cats and a criminal record. Tying two defenceless kittens in a bag and leaving them for dead is callous beyond belief.”

He added: “If they hadn’t been found by a lady walking her dog they wouldn’t have survived as they had no food or water and a limited air supply. Thankfully, the kittens, who we named Midnight and Shadow, recovered from their ordeal and have both gone on to find the loving homes they deserve.”

A media appeal resulted in the previous owner of the three-month-old kittens recognising them and confirming she had handed them over to Mountain six weeks earlier. Mountain was interviewed by an SSPCA inspector and acknowledged ownership, but initially claimed to have passed them on to someone else. When challenged about her story, the accused admitted she had got rid of the kittens.

“She said she had put them in a black bin bag and threw them over the side of a bridge at about 3am,” explained depute fiscal Keith O’Mahony. “She said she was going on holiday,” he added.

Mountain agreed to hand over ownership to the SSPCA, adding “I’m sorry. I just panicked.”

Defending, Greig McDonell said his client had little recollection of the incident, stating: “Everything was getting on top of her, and she has expressed her sorrow to the SSPCA and also to the court. She currently has no animals, and accepts that a disqualification from keeping them may be merited, and doesn’t seek to oppose that,” concluded Mr McDonell.

Sheriff Donald Corke said: “It is difficult to sentence in a case like this, as the sentence has to be proportionate to other kinds of misery we see in the sheriff court. You have reached the age of 63, without committing any other offences. I hope this fine will make you pause and consider before acting towards any animal in this way.”