Wednesday, October 20, 2010

YouTube's 'Cat Bin Lady' pleads guilty to animal cruelty

Mary Bale, AKA the YouTube "Cat Bin Lady," has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty. She was charged earlier after a CCTV video caught her placing a cat into a trash bin, where it remained for some 15 hours. The video was later uploaded to YouTube in an attempt to discover her identity.

The Internet, including members of image board 4Chan, then jumped on the case. Together, they managed to get the identity, address, and more of Mary Bale, 45. Bale was reviled on Facebook and other social networking sites, and was even threatened.

On Tuesday morning, Bale appeared in a Coventry court. She pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a fine of £250 ($393) plus a £15 ($24) victim surcharge and costs of £1,171 ($1,843). She was banned from keeping or owning pets for five years.

The court took into account that fact that Bale's elderly father had been gravely ill at the time, as well as her vilification in many quarters. Judge Caroline Goulborn said:
"The media interest in this case has resulted in you being vilified in some quarters and I have taken that into account. I accept that you were in a stressful situation at the time, but that's no excuse for what you did."
Indeed, the response to the public was sharp. One example was the "Whack-Cat-Woman" Internet game developed by the U.K. tabloid the Sun.

The RSPCA responded as follows:
"This was a deliberate act and could have had far worse consequences as the defendant had no way of knowing if there was anything like broken glass in the bin, nor how long the cat would be there before she was found, nor if the bin was due to be emptied," said Nicola Foster, an RSPCA inspector.

"We are pleased that the court agreed that a complete disregard was shown for the cat's welfare and that the cat suffered as a result of being stuck inside the bin for so many hours. However, we hope that this sentence will act as a deterrent to anyone who feels that it is acceptable to mistreat animals in any way."
You can watch the original video below.

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