Activists watched horrified as the kitten landed, panicked and began to run in semicircles.
Burton Pinckney who was hosting the event, told Digital Journal, "I was standing maybe 20 feet from him and he throws a kitten out of the window. He added, "the kitten broke its leg on impact, at least I'm assuming its leg wasn't already broken."
Pinckney who was running the Japan Dolphins Day event last Sunday to raise awareness over the plight of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, said that the entire party was shocked when the cat landed in the intersection in downtown Charlotte. "Luckily," he added, "the intersection wasn't too busy and there weren't any other cars around," so one of his activists Pinckney said, quickly ran out and grabbed the kitty.
"The kitten was in obvious pain," Pinckney explained, "and there really wasn't much we could do. We immediately started calling emergency vets, police etc., and we comforted it as much as we could." Pinckney said the kitten was young, around 8-10 weeks old. "It died in the arms of one our activists about 10-minutes later," he added.
For the group trying do something positive for animals, the callous act took the wind out of their sails, but then energized the group and pulled everyone together.
"The homeless people down there were absolutely fantastic," Pinckney said, "they helped us out with the event and with the kitten, they were as upset as we were."
Understandably shocked by the incident, many of the people in attendance naturally focused on the kitten and not the culprit.
"We contacted the police who were fantastic about it," said Pinckney and "they immediately launched an investigation and sent an officer right out." The officer spent about three hours working on the case. "He, [the police officer], was as pissed off about it as we were," the activist added.
Law enforcement was able to review CCTV footage from the area on the day the incident happened. Activists noted that the suspect was driving a white/silver Hyundai Sonata.
Nobody at the event managed to see his face, but the animal advocate also believes the suspect planned this in advance. Pinckney explained:
One homeless person said he couldn't see the guy because the guy just rolled the window down enough to throw the kitten out. Police continue to review the tapes and are currently interviewing people.
Law enforcement did learn that the suspect drove a block away and parked his car for six or seven minutes. Pinckney believes that the culprit, "probably sneaked back down to where we were so that he could watch us."
Pinckney's event was timed to coincide with Ric O'Barry's trip to the cove
in Taiji, Japan. O'Barry, the campaign manager for the Dolphin Project
went to the cove to protest the start of the dolphin drive season.
Every year between Sept. 1 and March 31, dolphins across several species are driven into a tiny cove by fishermen and either slaughtered for their meat or sold (at great profit), to the captive marine industry. Pinckney's event was one of over 100 Japan Dolphins Day events being held around the globe.
Despite the tragedy of what happened to the kitten, the Charlotte event went on to change a lot of hearts and minds, including the minds of six ladies, one of whom had recently swam with captive dolphins. She swore never to do so again.
As for the kitten, activists refused to let the animal die without naming it, so they called him Little Ric. "As Ric O'Barry inspired the world," Pinckney said, "Little Ric inspired us."
There is every possibility from the way the suspect acted, that he resides in the Charlotte area. Pinckney, along with local police are asking any person who may have seen anything, or who knows who the owner of the white/silver Hyundai Sonata might be, to contact CMPD Animal Control via the 'report a crime' number 704-336-7600, or CRIMESTOPPERS at 704-334-1600.