AN ANIMAL trust has issued a warning to parents after a cat was beaten to death by a nine-year-old boy in Thamesmead.
The animal had apparently been struck by a car before the Jubilee Primary School pupil tried to finish it off with a glass bottle while it lay hurt not far from the school in Crowden Way, Crossway, on the afternoon of February 8.
The unneutered male cat arrived at the Celia Hammond Animal Trust shelter in Lewisham with a head wound, a dilated left pupil and small right pupil which both indicated brain injury.
The cat could not get to its feet and although it was spitting at being touched, the animal was too weak to resist and despite being treated for shock with fluids, an antibiotic injection and pain relief, it died during the night.
A vet concluded it was impossible to know whether the cat’s head injuries were down to being struck by a vehicle or being hit by the boy but that being struck by the child would obviously have caused additional suffering.
A statement from the Celia Hammond Trust called on parents and teachers to teach children respect for both human and animal life.
A spokeswoman said: "Cruelty towards animals by anyone is shocking but when children are involved it is a matter of grave concern as one can only speculate as to what sort of behaviour it could lead to in later life.
"It is generally recognised that children who have been taught to be kind to animals are also kinder in their interactions with other children.
"Parents should reconsider turning a blind eye to seemingly harmless actions like chasing pigeons which can easily escalate into throwing things at pigeons and lead to a general disrespect for all animal life with consequent possible abuse and cruelty."
A spokeswoman for Jubilee Primary School said: "There was a very serious incident after school last week involving one of our pupils.
"This is an extremely sensitive issue for the family, the children involved and the community.
"The matter is still under investigation by the school.
"The children and parents involved are being kept informed."
The RSPCA is also investigating but will not be pressing charges as the boy involved is below the age of criminal responsibility.