When I read the story my first thought was why did a 12-year-old girl pickup a cat and dump him/her into the nearest rubbish bin as if he was trash? What motivated her to do that? It seems extraordinary that someone of her age could be so cruel towards animals. I have the impression too that this was a copycat crime (and it is a crime although she may not be prosecuted). This is because a number of years ago an adult woman, a bank worker, Mary Bale, did exactly the same thing.
CCTV caught them both. The CCTV footage was posted online and caused outrage. It looks like it went viral to a certain extent which in turn resulted in the girl in question having to disclose what she did to her mother. In due course both of them attended a local police station where the 12-year-old handed herself in admitting her crime. The police have said that they are looking into the matter under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. I have a strong feeling that as she handed herself in they won’t arrest and charge but perhaps caution her, which is why she handed herself in!
The crime came to light when the owner of the rubbish bin in question, Jean Atkinson, 68, became suspicious when she noticed that the lid was open. She rewound CCTV footage from the security camera that she had installed earlier to deter antisocial behaviour around her home.
The footage revealed the girl picking up the black cat and putting him into the bin. The girl’s criminal intent was manifest in the fact that she threw a bag of rubbish on top of the cat so that he couldn’t escape. She even returned four minutes later to check that the cat was still inside. Strong evidence indeed that there was an intent to harm the cat. This is called “mens rea” in criminal law language.
Ms Atkinson went outside and checked the bin and found that the cat had escaped (or was set free). There is no report on whether the cat was harmed or who he belongs to. Ms Atkinson said:
“When I checked my cameras back I couldn’t believe what I saw. I lost my cat a few months ago and I just pray nothing like this happened to him.”
A police spokesman said:
“A 12-year-old girl has come into a police station with her mother to say that she is the girl in the footage. We will be conducting an investigation of the incident for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. We will be speaking to the girl and will establish the best course of action.”
It isn’t just nasty young and older men who want to hurt cats. Sometimes it’s young women and even girls. I would like to speculate as to why she did it. This probably relates to some sort neighbour dispute. This is usually the reason. Perhaps this cat was encroaching upon the girl’s mother’s backyard or there was a dispute between the cat’s owner and the girl’s mother. Who knows? But the source of the problem is likely to be something like that. Sadly, the girl demonstrated a complete lack of morality and frankly her mother should be ashamed of her and herself. Let’s hope she has learned a lesson.