U.K. woman who threw cat in trash bin issues an apology; threatening Facebook group removed
The woman caught on video dumping a cat in a trash bin in Coventry, England, has been identified by name and is now publicly apologizing.
The incident, captured on surveillance video captured by the cat's owners' security system over the weekend, has inspired outrage in animal lovers worldwide.
The owners launched a Facebook fan page to help identify the gray-haired woman who could be seen petting the cat before opening the bin, depositing her in it and walking away. The fan page had accumulated well over 20,000 fans before it was removed from Facebook sometime after the woman was identified as 45-year-old Mary Bale.
After her identity was revealed on an online message board, a group sprang up on Facebook calling for her death. Facebook acted quickly to remove it, but several less inflammatory groups and fan pages (one example: "The Woman 'Who Put The Cat In A Bin' Should Be Locked In A Bin") remain, some with thousands of fans of their own.
Bale has since said that she is "profoundly sorry" for the incident and the trouble it 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," the statement, published in full by the BBC, reads in part. "It was a split second of misjudgement that has got completely out of control." She will cooperate fully with investigators with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, she said.
Meanwhile, the cat's owners are asking hot-tempered animal lovers to remain calm. "Now that the police know who she is, I think people should leave it to them and the RSPCA and not take matters into their own hands," owner Stephanie Mann told the BBC. "Whatever she has done, I don't like her, but I don't want her to get hurt."
The cat, a rescued 4-year-old tabby named Lola, suffered no ill effects despite being trapped without food or water for 15 hours.
Mann's husband Darryl found Lola after hearing her meow from inside the bin and has said he initially thought she'd climbed into it on her own and accidentally become trapped. When the couple reviewed the surveillance video to determine what had happened, they were shocked to see that a person had deliberately dropped Lola into the bin.
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-- Lindsay Barnett
Photos: Screen grabs from the video posted on YouTube by the Manns