A MAN has been found guilty of drowning 10 cats and dumping their dead bodies at a tip.

Mark Blazey, of Clayton Close in Weymouth, has been on trial at Poole Magistrates' Court after pleading not guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and two counts of failing to undertake the duty of a person responsible for an animal to ensure its welfare.

Following the trial he was found guilty of all four charges.

Yesterday, prosecuting, Rowan Morton alleged that Blazey was responsible for the cats and 'purposefully and forcibly' drowned the cats by submerging them in a body of water, before dumping five of them in two suitcases at Weymouth Recycling Centre on February 8 last year, and returning to the same tip just day later, on February 15, and dumping five more dead cats in a black bin bag.

Professor John Eric Cooper, who specialises in veterinary pathology and forensics, said he was 'disappointed' by the thoroughness of the post mortem and believed that there were 'failings in the collection of evidence'.

However, Mr Cooper did agree that the findings from the post mortem were consistent with drowning, but added that 'it did not prove it'.

When cross examined, mitigating for Blazey, Max Owen introduced the defendant as a 55-year-old man 'who could not read or write and had a very limited education'.

Blazey, who was said to have around 40 cats in his one-bedroom flat at the time of the incident, told the court that the cats were like his 'family', and despite offers from a neighbour to help him take them off his hands, was reluctant to give them away because he wanted to know that they could be looked after.

When asked by Ms Morton about a bucket and tarpaulin found in his bathroom, he said that the bucket was used to create a make-shift water fountain for his cats to drink and play with, using a pump.

The defendant said that there was a possibility that the cats were poisoned and said that on one occasion, prior to the cats' deaths, blue pills in an open envelope were posted through his letter box, which he believed made the cats ate, causing them to become sick. He said he could not remember if the cats survived. He said he fixed a cage on the inside of his letter box to stop anymore letters posted from dropping on the floor.

Blazey said he did not know how the cats died, or if they were found dead weeks before going to the tip with their bodies. He said he could not remember if all 10 cats had died all together or in two lots of five.

Ms Morton said that the post mortem confirmed that the cats which had been taken to the tip on February 9 last year had died around that date, and not weeks before.

He said he wrapped the cats in a towel, to keep them 'nice', and put them in the bathtub. The bathtub was said to have also been used as a toilet by the cats and Blazey said he would often use the shower head to wash away faeces and urine, and did so while the dead cats were in there, causing them to be wet.

When asked why he didn't call a vet, Blazey said he didn't call because he was 'scared' and said he was reluctant to talk to police because he was worried his cats would be taken off of him. He said the reason he gave a largely no comment interview was because he was following the advice from his duty solicitor.

Chair of the bench, Mr Davidge said that they found Blazey guilty of drowning the cats and causing them unnecessary suffering.

He said: "We found all the prosecution witnesses to be clear and credible. We found your evidence to be confusing and at times contradictory."

The case was adjourned until August 24 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.