Sydney Woman Who Stabbed Her Cat 20-times Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty Charges


20-year-old Celina Paige Shead was arrested and charged for brutally stabbing her cat named Ginger up to 20-times before throwing it off her 2nd floor apartment window on 23 October last year.

The 20-year-old from Sydney’s northern beaches- Dee Why was interrogated by police.

During her interrogation, the court was told that she initially completely denied having a cat and was observed to be “sinister, smirking, almost laughing” during the interrogation process.

The court also heard that she had absolutely no sign of remorse and said to a psychologist that “you know when something is so cute you want to squish the life out of it.”

Shead pleaded guilty in court before being sentenced by Local Court Magistrate Mark Richardson who described the conduct as “savage in its cruelty”.

His Honour also said, “on the face of it, it’s difficult to imagine a more cruel act than this”.

She ultimately received a 2-year term of imprisonment, with a 15-months non-parole period (period of full-time custody before eligibility for release on parole).

She has been banned from even owning an animal.

What is even more concerning is that also received a 3-month imprisonment sentence after pleading guilty to a charge of stealing a canine only about a month prior to killing the cat.

She’s been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and originally ‘rescued’ the car from RSPCA only a week before the incident occurred.

Animal Cruelty Charges in NSW

The maximum punishment is 5-years jail for serious animal cruelty offences in NSW prescribed by section 530 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

A person will be guilty of this crime if he/she does each of the following:

  1. Beat, torture, use an animal as lure or kill for blooding greyhounds or in relation to the trialling, training or racing any coursing dog; and
  2. The person does this intentionally to cause severe pain to the animal; and
  3. The animal is killed or seriously injured as a result, or where the animal’s suffering is prolonged.

The maximum penalty sentence is 3-years jail for:

  1. Killing or seriously injuring or causing the animal prolonged suffering from torturing it, beating it, or using it as a lure or kill for blooding greyhounds or in relation to trialling, training or racing coursing dog(s); and
  2. This is done by a person who at least was aware of the possibility of causing the animal severe pain.

Have a question? Call our Sydney team of criminal lawyers for a free consult.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW) also protects animals in NSW. It prescribes a maximum 6-months jail sentence or $5,500 fine, or both for committing an act of cruelty to an animal. (section 5Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW)).

There is a maximum 6-month imprisonment sentence for failing to exercise reasonable supervision, care or control to prevent an act of cruelty to an animal, or for failing to take reasonable and necessary steps to alleviate the pain in a circumstance the animal is suffering.

The same max penalty applies under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW) for failing to provide the animal with necessary veterinary treatment.

A heavier maximum penalty applies of up to two-years jail or $22,000 fine, or both for doing the above outlined offence (under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW)) if it ends up causing death to the animal, deformity or serious disablement (or where it’s so severely injured, diseased or in such a physical condition that it would be cruel to keep it alive).

Click here for an outline on the defences to animal cruelty charges under NSW law.

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