A MAN who was shown biting the head of his pet cat in a horrific video has been jailed for eight months.
Craig Mills had earlier pled guilty to animal cruelty charges involving the two-year-old cat, Pippa, which had to be destroyed.
The 22-year-old was told by a sheriff that his behaviour amounted to a “disgraceful act of cruelty”.
Mills, from Lumphinnans, Fife, was secretly filmed abusing the cat by his then partner, David Walker.
The shocking video of the abuse – part of series of incidents between April and Setember 2015 – appeared on social media and the police were involved.
In the video, Mills is apparently unaware of the camera and is seen gripping the cat and striking it hard on the body with his hand.
The camera is moved and Mills can be seen again, still holding Pippa the cat, and delivering several more blows.
After the ninth blow, Mills can clearly be heard twice screaming at the cat: “Who are you hissing at?”
He then forces the front half of the cat’s head into his mouth and bites.
The desperate animal manages to spring clear, appearing to leave Mills with a possible injury to the side of his face.
Mills then gets up to leave the room and a clearly shocked David is seen recovering the camera.
In court today Sheriff Craig McSherry was told by Mr Mill’s defending lawyer that psychiatric assessors had diagnosed Mill with an “unstable personality disorder”.
He said that at the time Mills had been a “relatively broken man”, who had endured an “unsettled at best and tragic at worst childhood”, with addictions to alcohol and cannabis.
But – he said – that Mills has recently reformed and now “looks and sounds like a different young man”.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
He recognised that the sheriff would seek a custodial sentence, but ask that he not “throw away the key”.
Sheriff McSherry called Mill’s actions a “disgraceful act of cruelty towards a young animal”.
He said that he would have sought to impose the maximum 12 month sentence – but Mill’s guilty plea forced him to reduce it to eight months.
An additional six months were added to his sentence for further charges, bringing his total sentence to 14 months.
Mr Walker took the video to expose his partner’s actions. But that has not stopped some locals wrongly accusing him of involvement in the abuse. Mr Walker’s home was attacked and he was forced into hiding.
Animal protection charity OneKind director Harry Huyton said: “This is a horrific case of prolonged violence against a family pet which we hoped would have resulted in a lifetime ban on keeping animals.
“The fact the judge handed down the maximum jail sentence available to him reflects the severity of the case so we are deeply disappointed the court didn’t see fit to impose a lifetime ban, or any length of ban, on keeping pets.
“While Mr Mills will serve time in prison, a lack of ban in our view is an overly lenient sentence for this level of abuse.
“Given the level of violence involved in this case it seems wholly inappropriate that Craig Mills should be free to own pets again in the future and this is a huge concern to us given the threat he poses to animals.”
OneKind has recently urged Scottish Government to amend the law so that when a ban is not imposed judges must give their reasons in open court.