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Is outrage over cat in bin justified?

10:50 UK time, Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The deputy prime minister has expressed shock by the actions of a woman who dropped a cat in a bin. Has there been an overreaction to the incident?

Nick Clegg was speaking about 45-year-old Mary Bale who was caught on CCTV cameras putting four-year-old Lola into a wheelie bin outside her owners' home in Coventry. Darryl Mann found his trapped pet 15 hours later after hearing her cries.

Ms Bale has since apologised and has been interviewed by the RSPCA which is considering whether or not to prosecute.

The footage, which was uploaded on Youtube and Facebook, sparked fury with hundreds of threatening messages being posted. Local police confirmed that no criminal offence had been committed and community support officers were oustide Ms Bale's home monitoring a large group of people for public order purposes.

Should such instances be classed as crimes? Would the reaction be different if it had been another animal? What protection should animals have under the law?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    Outrage? Probably not deserved as all things considered she could have done a lot worse. The lady in question needs to be questioned over why she did it with appropriate action taken afterwards. A slap on the wrist or small fine should be enough.

  • Comment number 2.

    Looking at the how furtive Ms Bale looks around before putting the cat in the bin is an admission to knowing she is doing wrong. I don’t think it’s criminal, and I think some people are overreacting, but I’d be worried about Ms Bale’s state of mind. No normal person in the right frame of mind would do such a thing.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    I can only assume there's a shortage of news today.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Isnt it funny how the very people outraged by the actions of this stupid woman on a cat, can see no problem with doing worse than she done to another human . . . . . .

  • Comment number 7.

    Of course people are outraged at this callous and stupid act. Along with the inevitable vigilante groups that will no doubt gather to exact revenge it just goes to show how brain dead Britain is becoming

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    A four year old child starved to death, her neighbours saw her going through their bins looking for something to eat, they did nothing to help her.
    Someone throws a cat into a wheelie bin, a national news event.
    I have no truck with people who mistreat animals, invariably they're failures as human beings but let's get this in perspective.
    Sadly the UK's priorities are shown by the fact it's the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals but only the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

  • Comment number 10.

    Blown out of all proportion. A warning from the police will be more than enough. It's not as if she harmed or killed the cat.

  • Comment number 11.

    People screaming for this ladies head threatening physical violence are being as childish as the actual act.

    However the frustration in my eyes (and I'm not overtly pet focused) is that the Police cannot act because (in their words) "No crime has been committed" (though this isn't the Police's fault, they're just following). The RSPCA have no 'teeth' and can bluster all they want - they have no tangible powers.

    I'm glad their is a general consensus that it is a vile act. It reaffirms that stupidity isn't bound by sex, age or class - it's everywhere. I'm disappointed the lady didn't have the good grace to say 'It was a moment of madness, I'm truly sorry'.

    The Sun championing themselves once again as saviours of modern virtue is funny in these cases:- they love this stories like this that stir the pot.

  • Comment number 12.

    I am a cat owner. I love my cats very much.

    I think the incident was quite funny.

    As I understand it, she didnt beat or torture the cat, she didnt poison it, push it, prod it or call it mean names. She put it somewhere it probably did not want to be but somewhere it would certainly be eventually found and would not come to any harm.

    My cats quite often climb into the wardrobe and get trapped in there for hours. Eventually I hear them meow and let them out. What's the difference, really?

    It's just not a big deal.

  • Comment number 13.

    This woman has obvious issues with Cats maybe they soil her garden I don't know but to state it was a joke is in itself a joke.

    Very devious the way she stroked it before dumping it though - typical.

    I bet she is quaking in her boots at the prospect of being dumped in a bin herself. Quite funny really.

    I hope she gets a hefty fine.

  • Comment number 14.

    As an animal lover my first reaction on hearing about this was blind, violent rage.

    Then as my higher brain functions kicked it i began to calm down and get some perspective - nobody died.

    But there is just something rather nasty& depressing about the thought of people wandering the streets commiting random acts of mindless cruelty.

    Presumably they just wish to proactively spread their own misery around.

  • Comment number 15.

    Now if only we could direct this outrage to other areas: drug dealers, illegal immigrants, drink drivers the list could go on and on, yet we dont have to protect these people from the outraged public.

    Rather a sad state of affairs really that we have to have police stationed outside the house of a stupid woman to protect her from a mob when the same people obviously do not care enough to go and form a mob outside the local drug dealers house.

  • Comment number 16.

    Outrage?! I think its really funny. The cat was fine (I think). Tell her not to do it again and move on, there are far more important things in the world. Just a chance for the local worthies to get all upset about something that everyone will forget about in 2 weeks, get themselves noticed, that sort of thing. Curtain twitchers, you know the kind.
    If anyone tries to claim that this is representitive of a break down in morality then I will laugh at them, its a joke. Why is it on the BBC at all?

  • Comment number 17.

    She must surely have known that what she was doing was wrong and that it was cruel. I'm not a legal expert so I don't know whether cruelty to animals comes under the criminal or civil code. Whichever it is I think she needs to be punished for what she did.

    However, having said that, the hysteria is well over the top. Having people outside the house threatening physical violence is disturbing and uncivilised.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Outrage over a cat in a wheelie bin. According to the news a large group of people gathered outside her home! Wouldnt we live in a far better society if we all reacted like this to real crime. How about the mugger who robs a pensioner or burglars who rob our home's. If these acts caused the same public outrage our streets would be safe to walk again.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    Not much of a joke is it? Would she feel the same if somebody went round her house and binned the contents of her home because they thought it was funny? I doubt it.What is concerning is the fact that this woman thought it would be funny to entrap an animal in the first place,actually I find it quite disturbing

  • Comment number 24.

    I would be more concerned if the CCTV footage showed a middle aged women putting another person in a wheelie bin! Or maybe it was just some test for the local authority - I wonder if someone will be receiving a 'fixed penalty' fine through the post for putting the wrong items in the bin!

  • Comment number 25.

    Anybody else having problems with this page today !?

  • Comment number 26.

    On the one hand not very nice then on the other hand the cat was a lot safer in the bin than it was walking on the highway where it could have got run over. The RSPCA put more animals down than they ever save so they are not blameless.

  • Comment number 27.

    Outrage over a cat in a wheelie bin. According to the news a large group of people gathered outside her home! Wouldnt we live in a far better society if we all reacted like this to real crime. How about the mugger who robs a pensioner or burglars who rob our home's. If these acts caused the same public outrage our streets would be safe to walk again.

  • Comment number 28.

    Over-reaction to animal cruelty? No. The NSPCC have said that where there is animal cruelty there is also frequently physical abuse to children within a family.

    The fact that this woman said it is only a cat, having first stopped to stroke it rather than ignore it, indicates mischief (not elf-type - legal meaning).

    Quite apart from cruelty issues, the bin might have emptied by dustmen - they don't always look inside wheelies; the worry to the owner; financially, any pet costs money to keep, apart from emotional attachment, there is often a considerable amount of money invested with vet's bills, worming, flea treatment, food.

    In response to 9 - being lenient because worse things happen is hardly the point, is it?

    If this had been a child I agree that it would probably have been a silly, thoughtless prank warranting a telling off. For an adult, it should be dealt with more seriously - a fine that's a bit painful. I doubt if community service would not work - I wouldn't want someone picking up litter in my area who might bin my cats.

  • Comment number 29.

    The lady who put the cat in the bin is a lawyer, and when asked why, she replied that it was a momentary madness. Potentially, she has an enormous amount to lose: her reputation, her job, her marriage, her relationships & so on.

    It looks to me that this act is connected with putting soft toys into a toy box. May be this fluffy cat triggered some childhood memory of putting toys in a box and she carried it out with the cat.

    I feel that she deserves leniency and benefit of the doubt.

  • Comment number 30.

    12. "I think the incident was quite funny."

    __________________

    A living creature stuck in a confined space for several hours with no water in the summer. Absolutely hysterical!

    I question if you truly are a cat owner or if you should be.

    This was a malicious act and the only reason the woman has any sense of regret is because she was caught. People who behave in such a way should be of concern to society. This time it was 'only' a cat, what will it be next time? The neighbours' annoying children?

  • Comment number 31.

    Over-reaction to animal cruelty? No. The NSPCC have said that where there is animal cruelty there is also frequently physical abuse to children within a family.

    The fact that this woman said it is only a cat, having first stopped to stroke it rather than ignore it, indicates mischief (not elf-type - legal meaning).

    Quite apart from cruelty issues, the bin might have emptied by dustmen - they don't always look inside wheelies; the worry to the owner; financially, any pet costs money to keep, apart from emotional attachment, there is often a considerable amount of money invested with vet's bills, worming, flea treatment, food.

    In response to 9 - being lenient because worse things happen is hardly the point, is it?

    If this had been a child I agree that it would probably have been a silly, thoughtless prank warranting a telling off. For an adult, it should be dealt with more seriously - a fine that's a bit painful. I doubt if community service would not work - I wouldn't want someone picking up litter in my area who might bin my cats.

  • Comment number 32.

    # 3. At 11:20am on 25 Aug 2010, you wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.


    All I said was that someone should replicate the same situation but with this woman as the butt of the joke. How does that break the house rules?

  • Comment number 33.

    I don't believe she intended it as a joke. Her furtive behaviour suggests otherwise. She probably hoped the binmen would put it in a refuse lorry.

    Anyway, deliberately confining an animal without food or water is not a joke. It is cruelty, whether the police choose to see it as such or not. If it had been a toddler, would they still see it as not being a criminal act?

    Despicable woman.


  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    How come nobody is concerned that the cat owners have CCTV installed?

    There are obviously bigger problems in that area than the odd stupid woman wandering past.

    I just wonder if a mob is forming to sort out these bigger problems too!

  • Comment number 36.

    Why was this video put on youtube? That was an open invitation for the mob to gather.

  • Comment number 37.

    21. At 11:39am on 25 Aug 2010, krullian wrote:
    Outrage over a cat in a wheelie bin. According to the news a large group of people gathered outside her home! Wouldnt we live in a far better society if we all reacted like this to real crime. How about the mugger who robs a pensioner or burglars who rob our home's. If these acts caused the same public outrage our streets would be safe to walk again.
    .........................................................................
    Couldnt have said it better myself!

  • Comment number 38.

    Outraged NO ,concerned yes but on a scale of 1 to 10 ? least than 4.
    How about puts an hook in fish's mouth? does it matter where or when I do it ?
    How about putting a live creatures in boiling water?
    now if that was a cat then there would be uproar !! but a mussels or prawns etc they is no concern .

    How about slitting an animal throat ? A goat or sheep quite acceptable !
    Now putting a Cat in a bin? compared with the above example seems far far less of an event ... So it seems if one can justify the event then it becomes acceptable

    I am a cat lover , have been all my live .I have four cats being an slight oddballs prefer cat before most people ...BUT people always come first .
    Before condemning the person who put the cat in the bin one MUST consider her state of mind at the time.

    Is it a crime no but if a person is prepared to do the likes as a prank society needs to monitor the state of mind of such people ...

  • Comment number 39.

    The owners say to leave it to the authorities, Unfortunately as we all know, the authorities will do nothing.. And that is the main problem. People have given up on the authorities, and the only way to make things happen is public outrage. Maybe if we had more public outrage the authorities would start to listen and do something,. She wouldn't think it was so much of a joke if she had done it to my cat.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think it's absolutely disgusting that people are agreeing with the woman that this was 'funny'. How dare people think that shutting a defenceless cat into a bin is funny?

    Would locking an old woman into a cage be funny? Would shutting a child in a cupboard be funny? Maybe these people need to get a heart.

    Cats, and indeed all animals, are completely defenceless against horrible, nasty people like this. They have no voice, no one protecting them, indeed I feel for all animals if the majority of Britain think this was funny!

    Before laughing, just think how YOU would feel if this had happened to you?

  • Comment number 41.

    I think it's absolutely disgusting that people are agreeing with the woman that this was 'funny'. How dare people think that shutting a defenceless cat into a bin is funny?

    Would locking an old woman into a cage be funny? Would shutting a child in a cupboard be funny? Maybe these people need to get a heart.

    Cats, and indeed all animals, are completely defenceless against horrible, nasty people like this. They have no voice, indeed I feel for all animals if the majority of Britain think this was funny!

    Before laughing, just think how YOU would feel if this had happened to you?

  • Comment number 42.

    I saw on the news yesterday about a man hounded out of his business by racists after having his shop firebombed, he'd had enough and left. Man loses business and maybe nearly his life to racist firebomb attack or cat put in bin, which caused more outrage...We live in a topsy turvey world.

  • Comment number 43.

    Stupid stupid woman, who obviously has some issues. The RSPCA should do whatever they can to punish her but that should be it. The people calling for harm to her are just as stupid as she is.

  • Comment number 44.

    There is a lot of animal cruelty taking place at present. Too little is being done and a recent statement from Animal Aid suggetsts that the coalition are neglecting animal welfare on cost cutting grounds.
    Is there an over reaction? Probably, but seen in the context of light sentences handed out again and again to outrageous acts of cruelty to animals one can understand this immediate response.

    Against a broader background; people who have been denied any say in matters concerning their lives, are being pushed around, with a war declared on the working people of this country by the coalition, and the obvious injustices in incomes and benefits, it is understandable that anger will be focused on wrongdoers such as this women.
    My goodness, let the HYS commentators loose on single parent families and you will see over reactions.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

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  • Comment number 47.

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  • Comment number 48.

    Cats are not designed to be recycled and so surely this lady ought to incur a penalty from the local authority for incorrect use of their wheelie bin.

  • Comment number 49.

    There is nothing wrong with feeling revulsion at animals being mistreated and to stuff a cat into a wheelie bin is idiotic.

    However, I read what some people would choose to do to this woman and it tells me more about what a sick sorry excuse of a society we've become than the actual incident that started this does. Red top militias are the last thing this country needs or can afford right now.

  • Comment number 50.

    I don't see how this could have been a joke, however, threatening her is taking it a bit far!

    Ensure she apologises to the owner of the cat and pays a fine but other than that, forget about it. The chances of her doing an act like this again would be fairly slim (I hope).

    I must say, very cute cat :)

  • Comment number 51.

    I feel sorry for the Cat.

    Let's hope it finds a more worthy owner!

    This woman should be banned from keeping any further animals.

    I mean....She might put a Lion in the bin next!!

  • Comment number 52.

    Personally I couldn't care less. There are far bigger things to get worked up about.

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    Disgust, I think is a more appropriate reaction as opposed to outrage concerning this issue.

    However, what I have found outrageous is the hoards of "animal lovers" champing at the bit to get their hands on this woman - which we all know would end in bloodshed, as they seem to think that in the case of animal rights its perfectly acceptable to operate outside of the law.

    My personal outrage and disgust for these people is their utter lack of humanity and obvious hypocrisy. When you consider you have children all over the world living and dying in the most appalling conditions and yet these people somehow find the time to encamp themselves outside some woman’s door in the hope that they get to lynch her - all in the name of animal rights.

    Now that is outrageous....

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.


    This woman should be banned from keeping any further animals.

    I mean....She might put a Lion in the bin next!!

  • Comment number 57.

    As a human this makes me wonder how many of the people complaining raise as much fuss over human injustices.

    As a vegan this makes me wonder how many of the people complaining eat meat.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    With millions displaced and at risk of death from disease in the Pakistan floods, one cat dropped in a wheelie bin really can't do it for me. I'd like a psychologist to explain to me what it is in human nature that makes somoe people go crazy over a cat in their country but not give a toss about millions of their fellow human beings on the other side of the planet?

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    I think the cat's owners should book it in for a long and expensive course of treatment with one of those quack "cat psychiatrists" to repair the trauma caused. See how funny Mary Bale thinks it is when she gets the bill.

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    People are over reacting, however what she did was wicked. She claims she did it as a joke, which if true shows how sick she is. Her act is no different from a yob tipping over a reliant robin, smashing a window etc because he thinks that is a laugh. Indeed it's worse as her act was against a living creature.

    She does at the very least deserve some sort of caution or fine, as her actions are outside what we expect in a civilised society. If nothing is done it sends out the wrong message to any yob who wants to do the same thing.

  • Comment number 64.

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  • Comment number 68.

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  • Comment number 69.

    When you live in a country where the media annouce roughly a murder a day.Which causes less public reaction.Than the daily roll call of which so called birdbrained celeb.Or some sportsman than keeps his brains in his trousers.Is given front page status by equaly highly excitable media types.Do you wonder that such actions appear nothing out of the ordinary.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hang on a minute the cat was trapped in the bin for 8 hours?!?! I'm sure you wouldn't view it a funny or a joke if you were trapped in a bin for that length of time!

    I remember reading an article on here from a former politician about how devestated he was when his dog died, a dog that had been there for him through his brothers and fathers death. The sense I got and could relate to from this article was that over a length of time these animals become like family members and are concern for them increases as such.

    So I don't find anything about this story funny, although I concede in the grand scale of things its hardly headline news, I still hope Ms Bale feels ashamed of herself and gets whatever response is coming her way.

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    To say "it's only a cat" shows how little regard this mean-spirited, callous individual has for life. It might "only" be a cat but to Lola's owners, she is a precious and loved pet. Yes, it is not as 'bad' as putting a person in a bin but a fully-grown person has a reasonable chance of getting out before the bins are emptied, Lola did not. The lids on those bins are pretty heavy and even if the cat managed to climb to the top of the bin, there's no telling whether she'd be able to push the lid up enough to get out.

    Mary Bale deserves all the outrage that is coming her way for her cruelty to an innocent small creature. I pity her mother, especially as that's what kind of caring daughter she's got to look forward to in her old age.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    "12. At 11:29am on 25 Aug 2010, TheyCallMeTheWonderer wrote:"

    The dustbin gets emptied. Wheelies tend to be automatically hoisted onto the cart and the contents crushed.

    Are the "really funny" comments anything to do with school holidays?

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    Sorry but I think this is representative of the British, more concerned about a cat put in a bin than millions of children in desperate need and danger. What have we become? Who made us this way? Fools abound, fuelled by an insane media

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    You have got to love this country!

    Halal butchers on every corner - no problem, but put a cat in a wheelie bin and the mob forms!

    I know which one concerns me more regarding animal cruelty!

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    All those who complain about people getting outraged over this not other things miss the point that this footage was put on the internet. Footage of the things you want people to get more outraged about aren't. I don't think it's all funny [and according to metro her daughter says she's a cat lover so someone's trying to cover themselves I think] and I thought they ought to be fined for it but where do all these rent a mobs come from? get a job!

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    "25. At 11:41am on 25 Aug 2010, VF wrote:
    Anybody else having problems with this page today !?"


    YES! If you look on the website under complaints there is a section for reporting technical faults - I have already done this - it isn't just on the cat/bin issue.

  • Comment number 85.

    Ms Bale should at least get an ASBO

  • Comment number 86.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 87.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 88.

    {21. At 11:39am on 25 Aug 2010, krullian wrote:
    Outrage over a cat in a wheelie bin. According to the news a large group of people gathered outside her home! Wouldnt we live in a far better society if we all reacted like this to real crime. How about the mugger who robs a pensioner or burglars who rob our home's. If these acts caused the same public outrage our streets would be safe to walk again.
    .........................................................................
    Couldnt have said it better myself}

    Unless the muggers and burgalars were part of the mob!

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

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  • Comment number 91.

    What she did is not nice, however it's not as bad as the absolutely awful things that others have done, drowning a lovely dog for instance. So yes, I do think it's over the top and should be left to the appropriate authorities to deal with. And before anyone gets on their high horse no, I wouldn't like it to happen to any cat of mine, but I would still look at it in the correct context!

  • Comment number 92.

    Whilst it wasn't a particularly nice thing to do I find it amazing that people are actually taking the time to gather outside her house to express their "outrage" at what she's done. I'm sure a good telling off from someone in authority would ensure she doesn't do something like this again, as for the people gathering outside her house, I think they really need to get a life.

  • Comment number 93.

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  • Comment number 95.

    hi

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  • Comment number 98.

    I cannot comprehend how a crime hasn't been committed here? Surely trapping an animal in a vessel it cannot escape from without access to food or water for 15 hours is animal cruelty?

    That said vigilante 'justice' seems to be going a bit far.

  • Comment number 99.

    35. At 11:50am on 25 Aug 2010, pzero wrote:
    How come nobody is concerned that the cat owners have CCTV installed?

    There are obviously bigger problems in that area than the odd stupid woman wandering past.

    I just wonder if a mob is forming to sort out these bigger problems too!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    An excellent point. Though I doubt the mobs will be forming.

  • Comment number 100.

    I cannot comprehend how a crime hasn't been committed here? Surely trapping an animal in a vessel it cannot escape from without access to food or water for 15 hours is animal cruelty? That said vigilante 'justice' seems to be going a bit far.

 

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