The search is over for the woman shown on this video petting a cat and then dumping it into a closed trash can. As we previously discussed, people in Coventry have been looking for the woman who turns out to be Mary Bale, a customer services assistant with the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The cat was left in the trash can for 15 hours in Coventry. The mistreatment of four-year-old Lola was the subject an investigation and her owners, Stephanie and Darryl Andrews-Mann, put up footage on the web — leading to Bale’s identification.
Bale, 45, objected that she is being treated unfairly and has received threats on the Internet. She insisted that she does “not deserve to be hated.” She stated: “I really don’t see what everyone is getting so excited about . . . I was walking home from work and saw this cat wander out in front of me. I was playing with it, stroking it and listening to it purr as it stood on a garden wall. It was very friendly. . . . I don’t know what came over me, but I suddenly thought it would be funny to put it in the wheelie bin, which was right beside me. I did it as a joke because I thought it would be funny. I never thought it would be trapped. I expected it to wriggle out of the bin.”
Her defense is a bit lacking. Here is a defense argument that most defense lawyers would probably forego in court: “People are reading too much into things. I’ve no feelings about cats one way or the other. I don’t keep pets myself, but I have no problem with people who do. . . . OK, I shouldn’t have done it, but it’s just a cat at the end of the day. I don’t think I deserve to be hated by people all over the world, it was just a split second of madness.”
What is fascinating is the possible legal claims of the Andrews-Mann family. They obviously have trespass to chattel. However, the law in the United States (and presumably England) would not allow pain and suffering for an animal to be the basis of a lawsuit. Often in the death of a pet, lawyers will seek to realize the true (as opposed to the market) value of the pet by suing for the emotional distress of the owner. Here the emotional distress would be based on watching the video, which would make this even more difficult since the cat was allowed to roam outside the home.