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Ex-Mayor of Margate loses appeal in animal cruelty case

Cllr Ted Watt-Ruffell, the Mayor of Margate
Cllr Ted Watt-Ruffell, the Mayor of Margate

A former Kent mayor has lost his appeal against his sentence for two counts of animal cruelty.

Cllr Ted Watt-Ruffell, the ex-mayor of Margate, pleaded guilty earlier this year to failing to provide adequate flea protection for his five-week-old kitten.

He also admitted failing to take the animal to a vet.

He was given a 12-month community order, told to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and banned from keeping any animals for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay £2,000 costs.

The sentence was upheld by a judge at Maidstone Crown Court, where Watt-Ruffell’s appeal was heard last week.

The prosecution against the 53-year-old security guard had been brought by the RSPCA.

The animal charity was called last August by builders working at Watt-Ruffell's home in Kingston Avenue, Garlinge, after they became concerned about the health of a white and tortoiseshell cat.

The court heard that when inspectors arrived, they found Watt-Ruffell had left with the sick kitten. He was told to return to the house with the animal, which died minutes later.

The kitten had been suffering from anaemia caused by a flea allergy, although Watt-Ruffell said he did not know the kitten was sick.

Watt-Ruffell resigned as mayor shortly after he was sentenced in February, although he remains a Thanet district councillor.

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