A MAN who allowed his dog to launch a fatal attack on a cat has been jailed.

Sam Simmonite, of Egerton Court, Barrow, was sentenced to 22 weeks in jail following a conviction of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Having been bailed following the hearing, the 40-year-old was due to be sentenced on May 23 but failed to appear at Furness Magistrates' Court.

A warrant was issued and Simmonite was sentenced on Thursday May 25.

The cat was a ginger cat called O'Malley, which was well known on Barrow Island.

RSPCA inspector Chris Towler said: "This case was not only a sickening act that caused suffering to O'Malley, but also caused significant distress to O'Malley's owner, Sammi Thompson, who found out about what happened to her much-loved pet via social media.

"O'Malley not only suffered during the attack but for some time after - we know that he managed to get from the top of a recycling bin where he was left injured to a nearby building site where he was discovered dead the following day.

"I hope that the sentence handed out to Simmonite serves as a reminder that society will not tolerate such blatant acts of cruelty, and will serve as a deterrent to those who choose to use their dogs in this manner.

"I would like to thank the witnesses for their testimony in court, as because of their valued assistance, O'Malley's owner may be able to take some comfort in knowing that the person responsible has been brought to account for this act of cruelty."

Simmonite denied the offence, saying it was a case of mistaken identity, but was sentenced for 20 weeks for the attack, as well as an additional two-week custodial sentence for failing to surrender to bail at the appointed time.

Magistrates also banned him from owning any animal for a minimum of five years.

Michael Graham, defending, pleaded with the bench not to impose the ban.

He said: "There is no suggestion that he ill-treated or under-fed his dog, or that it was a risk to the public. This was an isolated incident.

"He has anxiety and depression and he had an anxiety attack on the way to court on Tuesday when he had to turn around and go home.

"He has owned a dog all through his adult years and it has a great therapeutic quality for him and he does not want to be without that."

Magistrates charged Simmonite £750 prosecution costs, £158.40 for the vet's professional report and a victim surcharge of £115.

Simmonite interrupted the magistrates' sentencing to launch into a verbal tirade of abuse.

The foul-mouthed, expletive-ridden rant included Simmonite calling the bench chairman, Chris Harris, "four-eyes", before shouting: "You'll never stop me owning dogs."

He was found to have failed to control his dog, a black lurcher named Stan, and allowed it to maul the cat.

The incident took place at around midnight on December 6 last year in Steamer Street, Barrow.