Doncaster cats needing new homes killed by RSPCA

Wesley Byrne from Bentley with a couple of his cats.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Wesley Byrne from Bentley with a couple of his cats. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

A cat loving Doncaster man has been left “absolutely gutted” after the RSPCA put down some of his animals - including his prized possession Princess.

Wesley Byrne, 35, of Bentley Road, has devoted his life to his 23 felines but when he realised he couldn’t continue to look after eight of his pets he called on the national animal charity in a bid to get them rehomed.

He explained: “I’ve got a few cats and wanted to get some rehomed because I’ve been struggling and wanted to give them the best possible chance in life.

“An inspector from the RSPCA came out and we went through the cats I wanted to keep and the ones I wanted rehoming. I then got a phone call to say they would be able to take all eight at once and they made arrangements to come out.”

As Wesley had to work that day he sent a friend to his home to let them in. He said: “My friend later came to my work in a real state, saying I think they’ve taken the wrong ones. My favourite cat Princess shouldn’t have been taken.”

He spent the next three days trying to locate them, finally discovering they had been put to sleep.

“I’m absolutely gutted. It’s left a big massive void, the cats are my life.”

An RSPCA spokesman said: “We understand this is a very upsetting situation and we would like to again apologise for any distress suffered. There is no question Mr Byrne cares for his animals but he had obviously become overwhelmed by the large number of cats he had collected. The 23 cats in his care were not neutered or microchipped, which meant they were breeding indiscriminately and impossible to identify by scanning. We took the eight cats on good faith, with assurances that these were the cats Mr Byrne had selected for rehoming.

“The vet who examined them came to the decision that the cats were not suitable for rehoming due to behavioural issues and sadly made the difficult decision to put them to sleep. Nobody at the RSPCA wants an animal to be put to sleep, but it is always done on vet advice and with the animal’s best interests at heart. Our Chief Inspector visited Mr Byrne within 48 hours to explain the situation. We have also offered help and support for Mr Byrne, including neutering vouchers for his remaining cats.”

MP Ed Miliband is looking into the matter.