THE WOMAN who accidentally killed her cat after giving the animal paracetamol has accused the RSPCA of persecuting her.

Grandmother Claire Pritchard from Mandale Road, West Howe, said: "I think generally the RSPCA do a great job but they will persecute and harass you if they think you have done wrong.

"I couldn't believe they prosecuted me. When their guy came to take a statement from me I was shocked at the way he spoke to me."

Mrs Pritchard, 43, said she had given her cats tiny pieces of paracetamol in the past and it had helped.

She claimed that Midnight may have died from an undiagnosed abscess rather than a drugs overdose.

She said: "Midnight had a limp. She must have jumped off something and hurt herself so I gave her just one quarter of paracetamol in the morning and she seemed to improve.

"Then my daughter called the RSPCA because Midnight wasn't any better and they took her away. I told them what I had done and they said I had poisoned her.

"Later they phoned me up and asked for my permission to put her down. I asked them if there was anything they could do and they said no.

"I have had pets since I was a child and know how to look after them. I have been giving cats a little bit of paracetamol for years without any problems.

"The RSPCA have visited me twice since the court case to check my other animals.

"Midnight was three years old and I had her since she was little. She was one my cat's babies."

Mrs Pritchard has two other cats called Maisie Moo-Moo and Sidilicious and dog called Barney Boo.

The RSPCA has defended its decision to prosecute, saying the case was a warning to other people.

Inspector Graham Hammond said: “She had the use of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals which is a free service but chose not to use it.

“This cat needlessly died because she administered a substance that is poisonous to cats.”

He has urged anyone who suspects their animal has suffered an injury to seek the attention of a vet.

She was ordered to pay £280 costs and given a two-year conditional discharge by Poole magistrates.