A YORK couple face a court bill of more than £1,330 for neglecting their cat.

Phil Brown, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said they ignored a large tumour on their cat’s jaw and when the charity took the female tabby to an emergency vet , the vet had it put down on humane grounds. It was 19 years old and the vet estimated it had been suffering unnecessarily for between two weeks and a month.

The tumour was four centimetres across, the cat’s teeth had fallen out and its mouth had been so distorted it couldn’t keep its tongue inside its lips.

It had a lot of fleas and a thorny twig caught in its fur between its back legs.

Owners George and Sheila Eileen Jackson told the charity they thought their cat’s problems were due to old age.

Quoting the vet’s opinion, Mr Brown said: “Any reasonable owner would have realised the tumour was infected. This was obvious from the appearance and smell of it.”

Factory cleaner George Jackson, 63, and shop assistant Sheila Jackson, 61, both of Byland Avenue, off Huntington Road, York, both admitted animal neglect between December 26 and January 9 and were each ordered to pay £481.77 in prosecution costs.

York magistrates also ordered the husband to pay a £220 fine and £22 statutory surcharge. The wife, who earns less, was ordered to pay a fine of £105, plus a statutory surcharge of £20.

For them, duty solicitor Mark Partridge said the couple had noticed that their cat had lost its teeth but thought it was all right because it was continuing to eat. They had “inherited” the cat when their son moved out and the animal had always been a small cat.

They had not prevaricated when told about the cat’s health problems and had immediately given consent for it to be put down.

Mr Brown said the RSPCA had been tipped off about the cat’s condition and the couple had made no objection when an RSPCA inspector said their pet had to go straight to the vet.