Cat woman fined/Geldstrafe für Katzenmisshandlung

No doubt all readers saw the video of Mary Bale stroking a cat and then dumping it in a wheelie bin, whence it was reclaimed 15 hours later. Just in case not, here’s a short video with English soundtrack and German subtitles (from the Swiss 20 Minuten news programme).

Yesterday Mary Bale was fined (Independent report).

A woman who was caught on CCTV dumping a cat in a wheelie bin was fined £250 today after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the animal. …

Bale, who appeared close to tears, was fined £250 plus £15 victim surcharge and costs of £1,171.4p.

She was also banned from keeping or owning animals for the next five years.

District judge Caroline Goulborn told Bale the potential of the offence to have caused harm to the cat was substantial, but in reality it had not been hurt.

Just a bit on the legal details: A district judge is what used to be called a stipendiary magistrate. Most magistrates’ courts, which deal among other things with petty crime, have a bench of three lay magistrates, but in big towns there are court with just one stipendiary magistrate – now called a district judge – who is legally qualified and so doesn’t need legal advice from a clerk nor to withdraw and deliberate as a bench of magistrates do.

In England and Wales, prosecutions are made not only by the Crown Prosecution Service, but by other bodies and even individuals. If the CPS had prosecuted, the costs would have been about £1,100 less. This prosecution was by the RSPCA, and according to the Magistrate’s blog, Cash in the Kitty, the RSPCA just claimed all the costs it could think of.

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