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UK woman who dumped cat in garbage may face charges, prison time

By Laura Trowbridge     Aug 26, 2010 in Crime
Coventry - The woman who enraged people all around the world after a video was released showing her dumping a friendly cat into a garbage bin could be facing up to six months prison time. An investigation is underway.
As reported on Digital Journal, a mature, grey-haired woman was caught on security camera footage by the owners of a young cat when she grabbed the cat and dumped it into their garbage bin. The cat, named Lola, was trapped in the garbage until the owners heard its cries the next afternoon, over 15 hours later, distressed and sitting in her own filth.
After Lola's owner Stephanie Mann posted the video footage on her Facebook page, it drew the attention and rage of many people, and became a top media story around the world.
Mrs Mann told Sky News: "I can't believe the reaction to the story. I only posted it on Facebook because I wanted to see who she was. Whatever she has done, I don't like her, but I don't want her to get hurt."
"Hundreds of people joined groups on the site, including one entitled "catch the evil b**** who put the cat in the bin", and many have posted threatening messages about the woman depicted in the CCTV."
When the woman's identity was revealed as Mary Bale, a 45-year-old woman who lives in the same Coventry neighborhood as the Manns and who works as a bank cashier, police offered her protection because she was threatened by so many people.
According to Daily Mail, Mary Bale seemed to shrug off what she did to the cat, saying, "I don't know what the fuss is about. It's just a cat."
Miss Bale said she saw the cat when she was walking home and she stopped to play with it for a moment. When she grabbed Lola by the scruff of her neck and dumped the helpless cat into the garbage bin, she said: "I did it as a joke because I thought it would be funny. I never thought it would be trapped, I expected it to wriggle out."
Bale has apparently thought better of her nonchalant attitude after death threats and also coming to realize she is now facing charges and prison time. She is now saying: "I want to take this opportunity to apologize profusely for the upset and distress that my actions have caused.
"I cannot explain why I did this, it is completely out of character and I certainly did not intend to cause any distress to Lola or her owners. It was a split second of misjudgment that has got completely out of control."
Bale was questioned by an RSPCA inspector at Coventry police station. A spokeswoman for the RSPCA told Sky News that Miss Bale could be facing an animal cruelty charge under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. If charged and convicted, Bale could be sentenced to up to six months' prison time.
The normal process for the RSPCA to write a file on the suspect and have their legal experts go over everything to decide whether to prosecute usually takes around three weeks, but "because of the huge amount of anger and publicity, Miss Bale's case will be 'fast-tracked' and could be decided in days."
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