The owners of a cat which was dumped in a wheelie bin by a passing woman have spoken of their disgust at the incident - as reports emerge that the perpetrator has been offered police protection following a public backlash.
The cruel act was caught on security cameras in Brays Lane, in Stoke, Coventry.
The cat’s owners Stephanie and Darryl Mann had put up the cameras for extra security.
After hearing cries from Lola the cat, they rescued their pet from the bin where she had been trapped for 16 hours. They then replayed the footage from Saturday expecting to see teenagers or drunken louts committing the act in the middle of the night.
But to their shock, they saw a grey-haired middle-aged woman stop to pet Lola in broad daylight before picking her up and dropping her in the bin and shutting the lid.
Stephanie, 24, said: “We were going to my mother-in-law’s for Sunday lunch when we heard Lola miaowing painfully.
“We thought she might be trapped under the car because she sounded like she was hurt so we followed her cries and eventually found her in the bin
The couple installed CCTV cameras shortly after moving into Bray’s Lane five years ago because neighbours had suffered a spate of thefts.
Stephanie, who works in customer services for the Ford Motor Company, said: “I was just disgusted.
"I was absolutely heartbroken to see how someone could just be so cruel.
“You can see on the footage that Lola didn’t approach the woman, the woman went to her for a fuss.
“I don’t know what went through her head but it was just disgusting to watch and it broke my eight-year-old daughter’s heart.”
Stephanie posted the footage on You Tube prompting an incredible response from concerned animal lovers.
The family don’t recognise the woman but Sky News was today reporting that she had been identified by the RSPCA and had been offered police protection due to the severity of some online comments in reaction to the video.
“We thought it would be kids or someone drunk walking back from the pub,” said Stephanie who is relieved it wasn’t two days later, when Lola could have been carried away in the rubbish collections.
She added: “If she can do it to my cat, she could do it to anyone’s.”
Our sister newspaper the Coventry Telegraph broke the story on their website yesterday morning. Within hours, many readers had had posted comments expressing their anger at the cat’s treatment.
Coventry Police have collected CCTV footage of the bizarre incident. Because they have labelled it a matter of “animal cruelty”, Coventry police say the investigation into the incident will be led by the RSPCA
Judith Haw, local RSPCA spokeswoman, said: “We are shocked by the footage which would appear to be a mindless act of cruelty.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the RSPCA’s Nicky Foster on 03001234999.