by Elisa Black-Taylor

Good day readers. Today I’d like a good discussion on the Coventry cat wheelie bin case. I won’t go into a full story on Mary Bale, the Coventry bank worker who was caught on CCTV when she petted 4 year old Lola and then trapped her in a wheelie bin. Here’s the YouTube video for anyone who missed it. Also her story is all over the internet. Including the part where she apologizes.

Michael also covered this right after it happened before the woman was identified.

Here’s her apology.

“I want to take this opportunity to apologize profusely for the upset and distress that my actions have caused.

“I cannot explain why I did this, it is completely out of character and I certainly did not intend to cause any distress to Lola or her owners.

“It was a split second of misjudgment that has got completely out of control.

“I am due to meet with the RSPCA and police to discuss this matter further and will co-operate fully with their investigations.

“I wish to reiterate that I am profoundly sorry for my actions and wish to resolve this matter to everyone’s satisfaction as soon as possible.”


Lola is owned by Darryl and Stephanie Mann of Coventry. If not for the CCTV system set up to watch the front of their property, the outcome for this poor cat may have been much worse. When Lola hadn’t been found they decided to review the surveillance footage and discovered this cruel woman. I feel sure the footage will be admissible in court.

Mary, a bank worker, is now under police protection because of all of the death threats she’s received.

There are several things about this case I find deeply disturbing.

The first is why the Coventry police has handed this over to the RSPCA but they haven’t charged her because she hasn’t committed a criminal act. I would think there’s SOMETHING in the law she could be charged with. She didn’t shoot or stab Lola, but what she did could easily have ended with a dead cat. She could have called the police or the RSPCA and reported the location as an anonymous caller. Instead, she went about the day and even went in to work. So she couldn’t have been too concerned about the cat.

I’m really confused about Coventry criminal law. I hope someone who lives in the area can explain to me how she hasn’t done anything wrong. When Mary Bale placed Lola in the wheelie bin I believe she knew it was wrong. Even a child would know the risks of this behavior.

1) First there is the trauma it would cause the cat. Poor Lola will probably be claustrophobic for life now.

2) Temperature. Lola could have died from heat (or cold if it had been winter).


4)Lack of oxygen. I don’t know how much time Lola could have lived in they wheelie bin before the oxygen ran out. Do these things have holes?

5) Dumpster garbage crushing. Anyone who has watched a dump truck collecting garbage knows they compact the trash every so often. Lola could have died if this had happened two days later on pick up day.

Darryl and Stephanie Mann, Lola’s owners, are surprised at the public outrage directed at Mary. They do want her legally punished for any wrongdoing legally. Just not physically.

I’d like some feedback on this case. It’s very hard for me to believe she didn’t know what she was doing. Does anyone know of a similar case and what the punishment was?

Please don’t threaten her physically on pictures-of-cats. That could get the comments shut down for legal reasons. Lets have an intelligent discussion here. We all know what we’d really like to do to cat abusers.

Mary probably didn’t know she was on CCTV. This is one event where YouTube helped identify a criminal (yes, I said criminal). It’s nice to know the internet is being used to bring justice to animal abusers.


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Coventry Cat Wheelie Bin Case

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Nov 20, 2011
Hey cat hunter!
by: Leah England

You are the vermin!!

Nov 20, 2011
cats have NO rights they are vermin
by: cat / hunter

A dog is not alowed to wander were it likes, with out its owner with it. The owner is given a fixed penalty so why hould, a cat be any differant were is animal rights now, on this issue when a cat is not under the local council by laws and a dog is were is the dogs rights.I belive a dog has the right to attack any cat that comes on to its property were it lives and is expected to protact by its owner but the law says a dog is not alowed to atack a cat lets do the world a favour and do away with all cats after all there dirt dos carry worms that are very dangerous to humans now who has rights.

May 07, 2011
Insanity law info
by: Lauren

But back on subject. I am a law student and have studied the various defences, but not animal law. The defence of insanity would need to be by reason of an internal disease which is either a mental disease or a physical disease which affects the mind to succeed and it only applies to crimes that requires mens rea (intent or awareness that their actions would bring about the consequence), but not crimes of strict liability (where as long as you are proven to have done the act you are guilty, regardless of awareness or intent). The burden of proof is on the defendant to prove the disease and it must be internal i.e. it cannot be because a diabetic (assuming they knew they were) took their insulin and then didn’t eat, affecting their blood sugar levels and as such their brain. As awful as it sounds, murdering an animal wouldn’t come under ‘murder’. But if the defence of insanity did succeed, then the defendant would be found ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ and then the most suitable ‘punishment’ available in this case would be a supervision or treatment order. Animal cruelty may even be a strict liability offence where insanity cannot be raised as a defence. In my opinion, I think it is unlikely that insanity was used, as you would probably be fuming that she was found ‘not guilty’. So in that sense, the court has taken this case seriously by actually finding her guilty of something and giving her a criminal record, as well as various punishments. It is possible to be found guilty and be ‘absolutely discharged’, meaning no punishment.

May 07, 2011
Response to rodent comment
by: Lauren

I totally agreed with you until you said that ‘cats do us a service by keeping rodents under control’. Rodents are also animals and pets. I love my pet cat and pet squirrel equally and would not choose either of them to be harmed or killed. Saying that rodents are below cats and deserve to be killed is as bad as anyone who says that cats are below humans and deserve to be killed. That is not the attitude of a true animal fan. I am not keen on dogs, but wouldn’t wish death on any of them – they are still animals and equal, but just not to my taste. It is intolerance to suggest that something not to your own taste is wrong, below you or should not exist.

Imagine how you feel about poor Lola and if someone killed your cat, that is how I’d feel if someone murdered my squirrel. Heligan Gardens in Cornwall ‘found’ a ‘dead’ squirrel and not only cooked and ate it, but filmed the whole thing like they were proud of it! And being gardens you would think they would be squirrel-friendly! Considering that squirrels are escape artists, you never know when you see a squirrel, be it alive or not, that it is not someone’s pet. As you wouldn’t seeing a cat on the street. If my squirrel had escaped near them and then I found out that they had cooked up and ate a squirrel, filming the whole morbid act, I would be extremely upset that my once beloved pet had became somebody’s snack. How would you feel if somebody had done that to your cat? My level of disgust in human nature is about the same for this case and that of Heligan Gardens. But did anyone pursue them? No.

Oct 19, 2010
GOOD result !!!
by: Ruth

Mary Bale has pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the cat. She has been fined £250 and costs of £1171 and been banned from owning animals for the next five years.

Sep 22, 2010
by: Michael

Just a quick update. Mary Bale has been charged under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for causing unnecessary suffering to a cat and not providing an animal with a suitable environment and will appear before Coventry magistrates on October 19 2010.

The RSPCA brought the charges. Section 9 of the Act deals with the provision of a suitable environment and Section 4 with cruelty.

Aug 30, 2010
An example of a cat hater
by: Ruth

I was upset last night to read a letter on BBC Ceefax. This person asked why all the fuss about a cat in a wheelie bin ?
He/she went on to say that that is one of the places cats evolved, amongst rubbish, and that’s where they belong,that they weren’t put on this planet to lie by fires purring.
The letter finished by saying all they do is eat,sleep and stink. What is the point of them on this planet?
I’ve composed my reply during the wakeful hours of the night and I think a lot more people will reply too, hopefully some will be on Ceefax later today.
Maybe not mine as I’m going to say what are humans for ? We eat, sleep, stink and breed and are slowly destroying this planet with our selfishness. At least cats do the world a service by keeping the rodent population under control.

I really don’t know why some people feel the need to be so nasty about cats !

Aug 29, 2010
To Elisa
by: Ruth

Thank you Elisa, your message has touched me deeply.

Aug 27, 2010
by: Elisa Black-Taylor

You don’t have anything to be ashamed of Ruth, I think more of you than any cat lover I know. You’ve done more for cats than 10 people put together. There are bad people everywhere.

Aug 27, 2010
Ashamed to be English
by: Ruth

When I heard about this and saw Mary Bale enticing Lola then slyly looking around to make sure she wasn’t being watched while she dropped her in the wheelie bin,I felt ashamed to be an English woman.
There are many many of us around her age or a bit older(in my case) who have fought all our lives for animal welfare who will now be looked upon as possible cat abusers.
It’s true no one expects an older mild looking woman to be capable of such cruelty but I know mysself from living next door to an ex neighbour that it’s not always yobbs who are animal abusers.It’s just that cat haters usually make themselves heard loud and long about the ‘dirty creatures’ and people can be on their guard.
Mary Bale was very sly about what she did. Her mother said she couldn’t understand it, Mary is such a cat lover. Well I shudder to think what she’d have done if she was a cat hater !
I can understand crowds gathering wanting her blood, because we already know she will get away with her crime by pleading a moment of insanity because of her age !
All I can say is make sure you know your neighbours as best you can, watch out for children and pets at risk from anyone you don’t know and even those you think you do know.
In my own little corner of the world we are very lucky in that we live and let live but we still never relax our guard over our families and our pets.
I’m not a physically violent person but I must admit I’d like a few minutes alone with Mary Bale !

Aug 26, 2010
Covetry Cat Wheelie Bin case.
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

As a fan of “Sherlock Holmes” and having personally visited his house(Museum) at 22 Baker street i was aghast when i saw this video on “B.B.C Telivision” in Mumbai.The attempted murder of cat “Lola” by a “Motherly” looking simple English woman Susan.Bale, proved “sherlock Holmes” right,”never judge people by their appearances or first impressions”. How could this lady have dumped a harmless cat that approached her to be petted into a “Rubbish Dump”?She is definitely a “Cat Hater” if not an “Animal Hater” and her crime would have gone undetected if not for the “C>c.T.V” installation. There are manny people who hate cats for various reasons, but, the attempted murder of “Lolla” was a real eye-opener of animal cruelty in the Developed World.

Aug 26, 2010
Not looking for camera
by: Elisa Black-Taylor

I think she was looking to see if anyone was on the sidewalk or driving by who might see what she was doing. I worked in security for several years and thats the way a shoplifter looks around before stealing something

Aug 26, 2010
Wipe the smile off her face
by: Leah

This bitch shows no remorse. Her apology consists of empty words; don’t forget prior to the apology she said ‘it was just a cat’. The only thing she’s sorry about is that she got caught.
She knew exactly what she was doing. She said it was a joke well if that was the case jokes are usually funny aren’t they? Well I don’t see or hear anyone laughing.
If she didn’t want to see that cat die she would have gone back and fetched her out but no 16 hours later and it was the owners who found her because she was crying.
That bitch looked around for cameras then smirked to herself as she dropped Lola in the bin. She’s is sly, cunning and clearly unbalanced.
If any good comes of this its that would be abusers out there watch out you never know when you’re on camera.
The scary thing about this is that if she’s done this once what has she done before and not got caught?
If anyone has lost their cat around there I’d be paying her a visit.
Oh by the way Elisa sorry but I’m so angry I’m going to stick to calling her a bitch because thats all she is a sly, nasty bitch. She deserves to have angry mobs after her.

Aug 26, 2010
Thank you Phil
by: Elisa Black-Taylor

I’m glad to get your input. The laws here in the states differ from state to state. That’s why I asked for animal abuse legalities from closer to where the abuse took place.

Aug 26, 2010
Mary Bale needs the bin herself
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

I stand by my original comment in another post – Mary Bale should be made to stay inside a rubbish bin for 16 hours herself! Not practical, perhaps, but that is the ONLY way she would realize what it was like for Lola, the cat.

This cowardly cow of a woman did not make a mistake…she meant exactly what she did. Did you not catch the cheeky grin/look when she faced the camera? She knew it was there. I believe Michael’s 1st assessment – she was looking for her 10 seconds of fame. She just didn’t know it would be as it is. May she never get peace over this one.

Aug 26, 2010
Perspective and a bit of balance
by: Phil (London)

I just want to moderate some of the points you have made Elisa, whilst wholeheartedly agreeing with your post in principle.

According to the Animal Welfare Bill 2006, it is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal in the UK (our laws are country-wide and the equivalent of Federal laws in the US) – so there, what Mary Bale did certainly appears to fall firmly into that category. My thoughts are that Coventry Police did not want to fan the fires by calling her a criminal and appearing to encourage some of the more extreme responses to her actions. She may well be prosecuted – but they need to calm things down somehow. The tsunami of vitriol has meant that they are now obliged to protect her safety before any legal actions can take place.

I think the huge response to this has been due to the images that we have all seen. I wonder what the response would have been if there had not been any CCTV footage, but instead just a brief article to say that a woman was being interviewed after being caught dropping a cat into a bin? I have read horrific accounts of youths setting dogs alight – if there had been video footage as well… I don’t thing I need to go on.

It was a nasty, mean-spirited and almost inexplicable act (by the way, the bin Lola was dropped into would not have been airtight, so asphyxiation would not have been possible – your other points are valid, though) – but we need to get perspective. Sadly, there are far too many reports of animal cruelty in the press, many or most far worse that this incident – the difference is that they were not caught on film for all to see. Yes, Mary should be punished; I would like to see a lengthy community service order working with abused animals – that would fit the crime nicely, I feel.

Finally, in spite of her words, I do not get the feeling that she feels much remorse for what she did – her ‘apology’ was really quite flippant – only that she was caught doing it. I can pretty much guarantee that she will never do something like this again, though.

Aug 25, 2010
Animal Abusers
by: Mayport Cats

The only reason she apologized is because she got caught. The reason we have such a problem with homeless & abandon animals is because they are treated poorly, such as Lola was and the abusers are never prosecuted. I live in the US and was at the Subway for lunch today and heard people talking about this. The general public wants an animal abuser punished, however the law is very lax in protecting animals. We need stronger, more humane laws for animal abusers, more protection for the animals and even more spay & neuter programs. Unfortunately, most animal abusers are ordered to go through re-hab or an anger management course; even pay a small fine. They are very rarely prosecuted and jailed, even when the “Humane Organizations” are involved. Her statement of “It’s just a cat” reveals her inner character; she doesn’t value animal life. Maybe we should lock her up, after all she’s just an idiot!

Aug 25, 2010
To Anonymous
by: Elisa Black-Taylor

I use pine cones in flower gardens and indoor flower pots because cats don’t like walking on them and they look nice. They help the plants in the same way as mulch.

Spay/neuter mandatory laws is a story I want to do soon because there’s a lot of controversy. See California S.B. 250 as an example. It may help with the stray problem and it may not. Cost is the main factor stopping most people

I’ve yet to find a way to keep cats off of cars. There are also things to spray around places you don’t want cats. But it would be expensive to spray everywhere.

The best advice I have on the stray cats problem is to spay or neuter very young. Please read this story for more info on that

My cats are totally indoor cats, in part due to physical safety from dogs and larger animals who may hurt them. The other reason I keep them in is because I read too many stories of what can happen to indoor/outdoor or outdoor only cats. For every story I write there are 10 more that I haven’t written. Just search Google and they’ll pop up.

People have lost their minds and morals and I may be selfish but I won’t chance losing my cats.

Aug 25, 2010
Not just punishment – PREVENTION
by: Anonymous

Obviously, what this woman did could have ended in tragedy for Lola, and as a cat lover myself, it makes the blood boil! Here’s something that cat owners need to remember though – an awful lot of people who don’t like cats have either never been around them much, or they’ve had some bad experiences with the cats roaming free in their neighborhood. If the RSPCA is involved, it is my hope that they’ll try to find out WHY this woman really did this, and educate her on some kinder, more productive ways of dealing with neighbors pets. As cat owners/cat lovers, it’s not enough to just say that people should be kind and then punished severely when they’re not – more needs to be done in the area of prevention!

I’m not a writer, so I’ll just throw this idea out there for you Elisa – we need an article that tells us how to deal with all the stray cats that roam around in our neighborhoods! What can we do to keep them out of our flower beds/pots? What can we do to keep them off our cars? What should we do when they’re in heat and yowling outside our windows at 3 a.m.? What can we do to discourage them from ‘spraying’ things like our wooden decks? Honestly, I just tend to chase them away when I catch them in my yard, although I know there must be something I could do to make my yard less inviting – without harming the cats in the process!

Aug 25, 2010
by: Merrily

One of the news sources on the internet quoted this woman as saying “It was just a Cat”

Some of you may remember during the last presidential campaign that one of the candidates sons hung a dog, and when this man who was running for president was questioned he said “It was just a dog”

What would cause a middle aged woman on the spur of the moment to put this cat in danger? Even she doesn’t seem to know.

Spaying and neutering would help, since you couldn’t find a free pet on every street corner, but the problem is far more complicated, you are dealing with personality problems.

Aug 25, 2010
by: Elisa Black-Taylor

I wish someone from Coventry would see this and explain how it’s not illegal.

Aug 25, 2010
Coventry Cat Wheelie Bin Case
by: BJ

The only reason I can see that she actually apologized for putting this cat in the wheelie Bin is that she got caught. The cat didn’t belong to her and if she didin’t like it being there, she should have called animal control. That’s what we do in the South. If the cat had died, would it be called animal abuse?

Aug 25, 2010
poor Lola in the bin
by: dru

that woman KNEW what she was doing WRONG….she looked around b4 she did it. now she’s getting police protection. she should b fined or something. u horrible woman….hope u think twice b4 u do any stupid thing like this again….

Aug 25, 2010
You’re right Dee
by: Elisa Black-Taylor

The Mann’s said if it had happened 2 days later it would have happened on pick up day. But Lola was in the dumpster 15 hrs. So it was getting pretty close to collection time. I still don’t see how Lola didn’t run out of oxygen.

I still say the woman could have called someone to rescue the poor cat.

Aug 25, 2010
Thank you!!
by: E.J. H

This was truly a nasty thing to do and it was brave of you to take a stand on this! This is how cruelty and abuse start…hopefully when these things get reported and written about it will be less common. Brave people take a stand: cowards cover up abuse and thereby perpetuate it. There will be people who say, who cares? it is just a cat! Oh really?? Well, let me tell you, my just a cat, is a part of my family…as are my 3 dogs. Abuse is abuse!! Let this be a lesson to all who would do such a horrible thing….good people DO NOT TOLERATE THIS!! I would have entered my whole name but nasty people do try to make life miserable for those who speak out…but the author will be told who I am, by me.

Aug 25, 2010
cctv cat
by: Dee

What they didn’t bring out clearly on you tube they covered on the news, Lola was rescued just shortly before the garbage was collected!

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • your links have nothing to do with our topic: "" is about what wild animals kill humans the most humans. its irrelevant, what does that have do do with native wildlife?

    and your other link "" puts them second as the killer of birds. and you state it is a natural process? how is it a natural process if the cats have been introduced? and what about all the other animals they kill, the native animals, is that just another another natural process?

  • just saw your reply by the way it is bs. yes i do hate the domestic cats however i am not biased.

    really, not all cats hunt? cats are known for their hunting ability, there agility, and their ruthless nature.

    the owner of this cat didnt think his pet killed native animals to..

    your proposal that: "It is not inevitable that cats kill native species." is ridiculous if the cat isnt housebound or in a cat run do you think if a native bird landed infront of them they wouldnt pounce on them or atleast try?? hence think why they are classified as opportunistic??

    you stated: "many cats who go outside and are allowed to hunt prey do so at a very small scale"
    you just contradicted yourself, and why are they allowed to hunt outside of anyway? dogs arnt allowed to go outside and kill natives and when they do they get punished? where's they justice for cats.

    lastly out of all domesticated animals the domesticated cat is the biggest killer of native animals and have contributed to the extinction of many native animals and directly caused the extinction of many natives.

    get informed before you post on something you know little of:

    • Sorry Joe but you are very biased and it shows. You pick up some newspaper articles written by reporters who know nothing about domestic cat hunting and they get their information from other websites and their reporters know nothing about domestic cat hunting and those reporters do the same thing and so on and they distort the facts and at the end of the chain there is a study about domestic cat hunting which itself is distorted because it extrapolates information from a very small study in a small area and you can't do that. So don't believe what you read in the newspapers online. I'm very surprised that you do actually believe them.

      In addition, there are a lot of biased scientists who distort the results of their studies. An example is scientists who are also ornithologists. There are many other examples.

      By the way, please do not be rude to me (you used "bs"). If you're rude to me I will ban you and not correspond with you in comments.

      My cat, whose name is Charlie, has never hunted while I have cared for him (3 years). My previous cat who I cared for, for about 18 years hunted one prey item: a mouse, during her entire life with me.

      There are tens of millions of domestic cats in America who live their entire lives inside the family home and therefore they cannot pray on any animals whatsoever.

      Even when cats are allowed outside and they do prey on animals, those animals might not be native species.

      Yes, the domestic cat is a predator and very agile etc. But many domestic cats are highly domesticated and lazy etc. The domestic cat is becoming more and more domesticated and less and less able or inclined to prey on any animals.

      I do not contradict myself to Joe. never. And just stated that if the cat is allowed to go outside he is therefore allowed to hunt. That is not contradicting myself.

      Of all the domesticated animals the biggest killer of native animals is not the domestic cat but the human animal: homo sapiens - people like you, Joe - and you should know that because that is very well documented in very many scientific studies. Take a long look at yourself in the mirror before you use biased reporting to support your false arguments about the domestic cat.

      Read this:

      and this:

      • Sorry Michael Broad but you are very ignorant and it shows. ......remainder delated (Michael):

        From Michael: I told you to not insult me and you have so it over and out for you. I warned you. I gave you an opportunity to state your case politely based upon sound research and sound thinking but you fail to do that but above all else you continue to insult me and therefore you cannot expect me to publish your comment.

        Your stupidity is transparent because you ask me to publish your comment but within the comment are insults about me! How do you expect me to accept that comment? You've done this before and you have failed to learn by your mistakes and you have failed to put away your bias. You are an incorrigible obsessive.

        You are banned. Go way. Pester someone else. Bore somebody else with your biased comments.

  • it is inevitable that cats kill native animals unless a cat is caged permanently. anyone who thinks or sais otherwise is wrong. cats are one of the worst feral animals introduced!!! why you want one. they kill for fun.

    "cats have NO rights they are vermin
    by: cat / hunter
    A dog is not alowed to wander were it likes, with out its owner with it. The owner is given a fixed penalty so why hould, a cat be any differant were is animal rights now, on this issue when a cat is not under the local council by laws and a dog is were is the dogs rights.I belive a dog has the right to attack any cat that comes on to its property were it lives and is expected to protact by its owner but the law says a dog is not alowed to atack a cat lets do the world a favour and do away with all cats after all there dirt dos carry worms that are very dangerous to humans now who has rights."

    • Joe, you sound as if you hate the domestic cat. You write as if you are biased against the domestic cat. It is not inevitable that cats kill native species. A lot of cats don't hunt prey. And even many cats who go outside and are allowed to hunt prey do so at a very small scale. In addition, wild animals are killed by many other predators in possibly greater numbers. In addition, the human does more damage to wild life than any other lifeform on the planet. So once again, your bias and your lack of deep thought about these issues shows up. I don't know whether you are Woody (a well known cat hater and troll) but I don't really care; you are essentially incorrect and a cat hater.

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