AN elderly man has been sentenced to three years in prison for allowing his pit bull to kill another family’s pet cat.

Hume Hamilton, 82, was caught on surveillance camera taking his dog for a walk near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in June.

He walked up a driveway to where a cat was apparently resting, and the dog was filmed suddenly attacking the cat.

Hamilton can be seen in the footage trying to separate the two animals by stepping on the cat, but he was unsuccessful.

He left the scene with his dog, and the cat later died of the injuries it had sustained in the assault.

The cat’s owner, Wayne Spath, told WSVN the pet was ‘part of our family’, adding: ‘My daughter found that cat as a kitten, had it for 12 years.’

Hamilton was arrested over the animal’s death in July and held without bond because of his involvement in an unrelated case of aggravated battery. He was found guilty of animal cruelty and trespassing last month, and on Thursday he was sentenced to three years in prison for the crime.

The retiree will then have to spend two years on probation, and is permanently banned from owning a pet.

At the initial hearings in July, Hamilton’s lawyer had argued that her client should be given a medical evaluation. ‘I do believe that he has some health issues that need to be investigated,’ she told the court.

Speaking after the defendant’s sentencing, Mr Spath said he was relieved that his cat’s death had not gone unpunished. ‘Now we can move on,’ he said. ‘We have closure now, justice has prevailed.’             –DM