09/01/2014 12:49 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 10:53 GMT

Matthew Coffin 'Swung Cat Around By Its Tail So it Would Get Used To Naughty Nephew'

Matthew Coffin knew his soon-to-be-visiting nephew was a bit of a tearaway so he decided his pet kitten needed some acclimatisation.

The best technique, he decided, was to violently swing it around by its tail, a court has heard.

Coffin, 27, picked his tabby kitten Daisy up and spun her around his bedsit to show off to friends.


Disgusting behaviour

Shocked, they returned the next day and filmed him abusing the domestic shorthair cat on a mobile phone and reported him to the RSPCA.

The clip shows Coffin grinning as he grabs Daisy and bounces her around like a yo-yo while sitting with his partner on the sofa in their flat.

Magistrates today banned Coffin from keeping any animals for 10 years after he pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering.

swinging cat

Daisy has since been taken into the care of the RSPCA

They also ordered him to serve 150 hours of unpaid work under a 12-month community order and pay 150pounds costs and a 60pound victim surcharge.

Prosecutor Sarah Wheadon, representing the RSPCA, told the court his behaviour was "totally inappropriate".

Wheadon said: "In a vet's opinion, suffering was caused for the period Daisy was bounced and swung by her tail and this suffering was unnecessary.

"If it had continued as shown it is very likely she would have sustained injury.

cat swingingMatthew Coffin

"A responsible owner would realise that treating Daisy in this way was totally inappropriate."

RSPCA Inspector Penny Baker, who removed the cats with police officers, welcomed the sentence.

Inspector Baker said: "The video, taken by Coffin's friend, clearly shows him swinging the cat by its tail on several occasions.

"He said his young nephew was coming to stay and pulled cats tails so he was getting Daisy used to it.

"This is a terribly heartless thing to do and I was shocked when I saw the video of him pulling her up and down several times.

"What makes it worse is that he had done this the previous day and was happy to repeat it.

"I am very pleased with the sentence as it shows how seriously magistrates took the offence he committed, which was clearly a deliberate act."

Vets X-rayed 'timid' Daisy and found no lasting damage, Inspector Baker said.

She and Coffin's other cat, an older black male named Charlie, are both available for adoption.

Inspector Baker added: "I found poor Daisy very timid, but since she has been in our care she's become a lot more friendly.

"Had this mistreatment gone on as she grew and got much bigger, there's a far stronger chance she could have been badly injured.

"Coffin lifted Daisy up entirely by her tail, and the weight of this could have really hurt her.

"He admitted in court that he was basically showing off."

Magistrates also ruled Coffin's other pets - two hamsters and a bearded dragon - must be confiscated within seven days.

Sentencing, the bench chairwoman said: "We regard these offences as so serious that you should be disqualified from keeping any animals, birds or reptiles for 10 years."

Jonathan Driver, mitigating, said Coffin accepts he should have realised Daisy could have been harmed.

Driver told the court: "My client did not appreciate that he was exposing Daisy to risk of harm and he accepts that he should have."

"This is a case of misguided inappropriate behaviour rather than anything malicious or sinister."

Coffin, from Southampton, Hants, committed the offences in September last year.