A U.K. couple has been banned from keeping animals after they allegedly threw a kitten against a wall and abused two other cats.

Callum Richardson and Ellen Jayne Symon, both 22, pleaded guilty to one animal welfare offense.

The investigation by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) into the couple began after a kitten named Coco was found dead at the Heatley Close home where they were living in Blackburn.

The eight-week-old kitten was found dead inside a shoebox after the RSCPA was called to the property in January 2021. Richardson and Symon accused each other of killing Coco by throwing her against a wall. Results from a post-mortem showed that she had suffered a number of blunt force injuries that indicated she may have been thrown more than once, according to Lancs Live.

Two months prior to Coco being found dead, another cat in the couple’s care suffered a broken right forelimb. The couple said the cat named Ellie was struck with a sweeping brush during a domestic argument and suffered a fractured front leg, according to ITV.

Ellie underwent a leg amputation and eventually recovered from her injuries.

The RSPCA was called on another occasion in August 2021 about a third cat living with the couple. The 1-year-old cat, Lucifer, was screaming in pain and looked severely injured at the time. When Lucifer was rushed to the hospital, vets found he sustained a fractured right hind limb and multiple historic fractures of the cheekbone. He also suffered 13 rib fractures.

Lucifer has recovered since being removed from the couple’s care.

“In my opinion, Lucifer was caused to suffer as a consequence of physical abuse on a number of occasions,” an independent veterinary expert said during a court session earlier this month, according to the Lancashire Telegraph.

"Suffering would have been experienced by this animal via mechanisms of fear, distress and pain on at least three occasions within six weeks,” the veterinary expert went on to say. “The fractured right forelimb evident on Ellie is consistent with the injury being caused when hit with a sweeping brush as suggested in court. With regards Coco there appears to be no dispute that this eight week old kitten sustained injury via physical abuse by being thrown against a wall and the post…”

“This was a horrific case of cruelty to a number of defenseless cats. This prosecution sends a statement that treating cats in this way is wholly unacceptable,” RSPCA Inspector Danni Jennings told the court, according to the outlet.

Along with a lifetime ban on having pets, the court handed the couple 18-week prison sentences suspended for two years. They were ordered to carry out 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and also have to pay around $433 each.

Both Lucifer and Ellie have found new homes, thanks to the RSPCA, and are reportedly doing well.

Representative image Credit: Pixabay / DesigbyElton