'Cat in bin' woman fined in Britain
A British woman who sparked an Internet hate campaign after she was caught on camera dumping a cat in a rubbish bin was spared jail Tuesday after she admitted causing suffering to the animal.
Mary Bale, a 45-year-old bank worker, was fined 250 pounds (400 dollars, 280 euros) after pleading guilty at Coventry Magistrates' Court in central England.
Bale, who appeared close to tears during the hearing, was also ordered to pay costs of 1,171 pounds and banned from keeping or owning animals for the next five years.
The charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal can lead to a prison sentence for the most serious cases.
A second charge of failing to provide the cat with a suitable environment was dropped.
Bale received death threats in August after closed-circuit television camera footage emerged of her stroking the four-year-old tabby before picking it up by the scruff of its neck and dropping it into the bin.
The video was posted on video sharing site You Tube and a Facebook campaign attracted tens of thousands of followers.
District judge Caroline Goulborn told Bale that while her actions could have caused substantial harm to the cat, in reality it had not been hurt.
She said: "The media interest in this case has resulted in you being vilified in some quarters and I have taken that into account."
The judge, who was told Bale's elderly father was gravely ill at the time of the incident, added: "I accept that you were in a stressful situation at the time, but that's no excuse for what you did."
The cat, Lola, was believed to have been stuck in the plastic wheelie bin for 15 hours until her owners Darryl and Stephanie Mann heard her miaowing.
They found out what happened after checking footage from a camera they had installed at their house after their car was repeatedly bumped by other vehicles.
© 2010 AFP