19 October 2010 Last updated at 12:25
Cat bin dumping woman fined for cruelty offence
A woman filmed dumping a cat in a wheelie bin has been fined £250 after admitting a cruelty offence.
The RSPCA charged Mary Bale after CCTV cameras showed her throwing four-year-old Lola into a bin outside her owners’ home in Coventry.
Bale, 45, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a cat. A charge of not providing the cat with a suitable environment was dropped.
The judge said she had taken Bale’s vilification into account.
The CCTV footage showed Bale, a former bank worker, stroking Lola before picking her up by the scruff of her neck and dropping her into a wheelie bin.
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.
Coventry Magistrates Court also heard that Bale’s elderly father had been gravely ill at the time and that he had since died.
“I accept you were in a stressful situation at the time, but that’s no excuse for what you did,” Judge Goulborn said.
The court heard Bale could provide no answer as to why she had acted in such a way.
The incident took place in Brays Lane in August.
Bale’s actions sparked outrage when Lola’s owner Darryl Mann posted the footage on the internet.
He found the cat after it had been in the bin for 15 hours, then checked his security camera video to see how it got there.
Within hours, angry messages had been posted online and later a Facebook page, reportedly calling for Bale’s death, was removed.
Mr Mann, and his wife Stephanie, said they had been “stunned” by the public reaction to the footage and asked people not to take matters into their own hands.
In addition to the fine Bale was ordered to pay costs of £1,171 and banned from keeping or owning animals for the next five years.
Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Nicky Foster said the costs order and the ban would act as a deterrent to others.
“She (Bale) said in court that she doesn’t know why she has done it, so she has no excuse.”
Ms Foster said the cat had been extremely lucky to come out unharmed.