Do you remember the story from a couple of months ago about a woman in Coventry UK being caught on a security camera tossing a cat into a trash bin? Well, take a look to refresh your memory:
Well, after tons of international outrage and attention, the woman was charged with animal cruelty and was fined 250 British pounds. The reason for a fine compared to a more severe charge:
District judge Caroline Goulborn said the potential for harm to the cat had been “substantial” but the reality was she had not been hurt.
“The media interest in this case has resulted in you being vilified in some quarters and I have taken that into account,” she said.
Here is the initial report of the event from the Daily Mail:
Lola’s owner Darryl Mann, 26, said: ‘I came down to feed Lola on Sunday morning but couldn’t find her anywhere. It was really hot day outside and I searched nearby alleyways but suddenly heard a tiny meowing coming from the bin.
‘I looked inside and I found her in the bin, she was terrified and covered in her own mess.’
The mobile phone repair man and his wife Stephanie Andrews-Mann have cameras covering the outside of their home in Coventry – and the cruel attack was captured on film.
He added: ‘At first I thought she’d somehow climbed inside the bin herself but when I checked the CCTV I was gobsmacked to see some woman had done in deliberately.
‘I’d like to know how she would feel if she was stuck in a bin for 15 hours without food or drink.’
His wife, Stephanie, who has a daughter from a previous relationship, was appalled by the attack.
She said: ‘I find the entire thing sickening. I cannot believe someone would do this to an innocent family pet.
‘Lola was a rescue cat and was wary of people when we first got her. She has a lovely disposition and really wouldn’t hurt a fly.
‘This is what makes the attack on her so shocking. I really want to find the woman who did this to her. She must be stopped.’
In an attempt to track down the culprit, the couple have put the 1.27min clip of the attack on Lola on websites YouTube and Facebook.
Those who saw it were shocked. One, Lynsey Skinner, wrote: ‘Someone must know who she is? Have you spoken to your neighbours about it? Crazy and cruel. I hope you do report her and she is caught.’
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: ‘The RSPCA is appalled by allegations that a cat was placed inside a wheelie bin in what would appear to be a mindless act of animal cruelty.’
Of course since the cat survived and is reportedly doing just fine now (at least physically), the interesting thing to look at it the role of technology in all of this. Had there been no video camera, the owner would never have known that the cat ending up in the bin wasn’t just a bizarre accident rather than an act of cruelty.
And beyond that, we have the ability of the owner to quickly extract a clip of that video and post it on YouTube, spread the word via Facebook which turned it into a viral campaign picked up by loads of websites all over the world, leading to the discovery of who the person was that perpetrated the cruelty.
It is always easy to look back decades and see the impact of the march of technology, but here again we see how quickly these advances can become part of our lives and ingrained in how we do things.