The video footage of a person placing a cat into a wheelie bin is disgusting to watch.
On the face of it, the relevant offence would be section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The relevant provisions seem to be:
(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)an act of his, or a failure of his to act, causes an animal to suffer,
(b)he knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the act, or failure to act, would have that effect or be likely to do so,
(c)the animal is a protected animal, and
(d)the suffering is unnecessary.
(3)The considerations to which it is relevant to have regard when determining for the purposes of this section whether suffering is unnecessary include—
(a)whether the suffering could reasonably have been avoided or reduced;
(b)whether the conduct which caused the suffering was in compliance with any relevant enactment or any relevant provisions of a licence or code of practice issued under an enactment;
(c)whether the conduct which caused the suffering was for a legitimate purpose, such as—
(i)the purpose of benefiting the animal, or
(ii)the purpose of protecting a person, property or another animal;
(d)whether the suffering was proportionate to the purpose of the conduct concerned;
(e)whether the conduct concerned was in all the circumstances that of a reasonably competent and humane person.
The relevant Crown Prosecution Service guidance is here and the RSPCA prosecution policy is here.
A number of media source have quoted the West Midlands Police as saying no crime has been committed and that the matter has been referred to the RSPCA.
I am not an expert on animal cruelty law, but I am not sure that is correct, as the provision under which the RSPCA would bring any prosecution is part of the criminal law.
As a catlover, there is part of me which wants to convert my disgust into a prosecution.
(There is part of me which wants to do at lot worse.)
However, the person involved still has an entitlement to due process and the presumption of innocence.
The various "hate" sites and calls for vigilante action are inappropriate.
In a liberal society, even those who do the most dreadful and vile things should not be thrown to the mob.
And this is true even of Mary Bale.
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