by Rachel Hovenden
A man has been banned from keeping animals for two years after he twisted the neck of a two-week-old kitten.
Dean Oakley, 35, of Doria Drive, Gravesend, admitted failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of a kitten were met.
Natasha Murphy , 28, of Princes Road, Gravesend, also admitted two counts of the same charge, but in relation to flea infestations of the dead kitten, its mother and four siblings.
Oakley and Murphy were given a two-year conditional discharge and must pay costs of £300 and £600.
The RSPCA seized the mother and remaining two kittens from Murphy.
Magistrates heard Oakley twisted the animal's neck because it was ill after suffering a flea infestation.
The kitten, and two others that died of natural causes, were dumped in an alleyway behind Murphy's house.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "You can't just go and kill kittens yourself. They need to be taken to a vet and put down humanely.
"The neck of a kitten, on any mammal, is quite thick so twisting it has the potential to cause a lot of suffering."