UNITED KINGDOM – A total of four teens who laughed as they shared photos of a cat they had tortured, leaving its eyeballs popping out, have been slammed in court.
The youths, aged 17, 16, 15 and 15, completely mutilated the body of treasured family pet cat Leo, smashing its head with a rock and poking it with a stick before stringing it up with a piece of rope all while his “eyes were popping out”.
The court recently heard that the cat had already been killed after suffering a “large bite wound”, believed to have been from a dog, when it was discovered by the youths.
The teens then used a stick, rope and rock to club the three-year-old ginger cat in Riddings Park back on August 11.
They have now each pleaded guilty at Chesterfield magistrates’ court in Derbyshire to carrying out an act of outraging public decency by behaving in an indecent manner, namely beating a cat.
District judge Jan Jellema stated “The behavior, as it has been described to me is, to say the least, appalling and despicable.
“The aggravating factor is that it was posted on Snapchat so that others were shown through that medium what had gone on.”
The horrifying images were shared on Snapchat, with one image labeled “EYEBALL HANGIN’ OUT”, with a second captioned “AHAH MAD GUY”.
A third stated “PHA MAD GUY”.
The images all were shared on Snapchat before being put onto social media by another person, not one of the teenagers now facing court.
The teenagers, who appeared in court together, stood side by side during the hearing process with their parents.
The court heard the youths had been subjected to death threats after the sickening attack.
Prosecutor John Cooper explained that a man found Leo with a rope tied around his body at about 2.30pm on August 11 while walking his dog on a path at the park.
The RSPCA and police were informed of the cat’s injuries, which included a broken neck, broken ribs, a bloodied mouth and ears and popped-out eyeballs.
Leo’s owner, mother of two Katie Dowler-Chell also attended the hearing and sat at the back of the court.
The 31-year-old had described just how sickening the attack was with the cat “like a best friend” to her six-year-old son Lucas.
Speaking back in August, the Derby mother stated: “I’d been at work and not been home long when I got a call from an unknown number, and it was a woman asking if I had a cat called Leo.
“She was a lady from the RSPCA and said she had Leo with her, and she had identified him from his microchip.
“She said he’d been harmed and was dead – I was completely shocked.
“It sounded like she was struggling to put something into words – then she said, ‘it’s not good, he’s been found with rope wrapped around him’.”
The mother stated she did not know what to think, with her stomach dropping as the suspected abuse was relayed to her.
She went on to say: “As I saw him I picked him up, then just dropped to my knees on the floor and started sobbing. I was hysterical.
“His skull was caved in, his neck was fractured, and his broken ribs were crumbling under my fingers – as I held him I could feel them crunching and moving.
“His mouth was bloodied, he had blood coming out of his ear and his eye was bulging out of the socket.
“I just held him for what seemed like an eternity – I didn’t really know what else to do.”
She noted that her six-old son Lucas “couldn’t stop crying”.
She stated: “He wouldn’t be able to comprehend it and it would give him nightmares. Leo wasn’t just a cat, he was part of the family.
“We’re all absolutely devastated – I just can’t get my head around it, I can’t connect the dots and work out why someone would lure a defenseless cat into their clutches, then torture and kill him for sport.
“I thought I’d seen the worst of humanity, but this is just horrendous and it’s floored me.”
RSPCA spokeswoman Rachel Butler stated: “Leo had rope tied around his chest and had fractures all over his body. This is a very distressing incident.”
Sentencing has been adjourned until November 22 with all four defendants released on bail.