A British judge has thrown out charges against 20-year-old Riain Richards, who is accused of causing unnecessary suffering to a 2-year-old cat named Mowgli. Richards was charged with swinging Mowgli by his tail 17 times in 30 seconds in front of a pub, The Camden Arms, in Ramsgate, Kent, while friends looked on and laughed, on October 29. The Daily Telegraph describes the abuse, which was captured on CCTV and released by the Royal Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA):
In the 17 second clip, the animal’s attacker seemingly dances down the road with the black cat at arm’s length.
The animal is then seen colliding with the arm of another man. The cat’s head nearly hit parked cars and a brick wall as it was violently swung around….
Witnesses testified of seeing a group of youths swinging around what looked like a cardigan before realising it was in fact a pet cat.
Mowgli’s owner, IT teacher Michelle Buchanan, said that he was not injured but has been “traumatized” physically and mentally and is no longer willing to go outside. She also said that Mowgli now cries when she tries to pick him up, even eight months after the incident, according to Agence France-Presse.
One of Buchanan’s neighbors, Lynne Jarvis, heard “horrible laughter” during the attack and went outside. She said that the other people with Richards “were jeering and loving every minute of it”; the RPSCA said he only put down the cat after Jarvis swore at him.
Richards, who was unemployed at the time of the alleged incident, has denied the charges against him. If convicted of the charges against him, he could have faced a jail sentence of up to 51 weeks and a fine of up to £20,000 (about $31,584).
The CCTV footage was said to be “of such poor quality that it is hard to identify any distinguishing features,” said the chair of the bench, Gillian Monk. After Richards gave permission, his home and computer were searched but no evidence was turned up. Dover Magistrates’ Court says that there is no case to answer.
Buchanan described herself as “very disappointed, very upset and very angry” after the judgment. Thanking those who had supported her, she said that “there has been no justice done.”
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