Jersey's animal shelter urges Islanders to 'report animal abuse' after two-hour attack on cat

States of Jersey Police. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (36718444)

ISLANDERS are being urged to report animal cruelty to the police, after a man was jailed for a “persistent, wanton and inexplicable” two-hour attack on a cat.

The JSPCA said that the two-month jail term and five-year ban on keeping pets handed down to Jean Luc Pinel highlighted that “animal abuse is a serious crime and offenders will face prosecution”.

The 25-year-old was sentenced in the Magistrate’s Court for attacking his then girlfriend’s cat in an assault which was captured on internal CCTV. Video footage played to the court showed multiple incidents of “sustained, ongoing cruel acts”, which included standing on the cat’s tail, vigorously and aggressively shaking it, whipping it with a towel and picking it up by the neck and flinging it to the floor.

Legal adviser Samantha Morris, prosecuting, warned the court that the footage was “upsetting” to watch and those present were given the opportunity to leave.

Pinel attacked the cat – named Daphne – in his then girlfriend’s apartment when he was alone and awaiting her return from work.

He handed himself in to the police when the footage was brought to his attention.

While the cat did not sustain any physical injuries, when Pinel was shown the footage in a police interview, he said it was clear “she was in definite pain”.

He added: “It’s cruelty to animals and it’s horrible to watch. I’m disgusted in myself.”

The JSPCA said that it had not been involved in the prosecution, so could not comment on any specific aspects of the case.

Debra D’Orleans, JSPCA’s chief officer, continued: “We are pleased that the courts are taking animal cruelty seriously and we hope that this highlights the fact that animal abuse is a serious crime and offenders will face prosecution.

“Causing unnecessary suffering to an animal is abhorrent, and any instances of animal cruelty should be reported to either the police or the States Vet department.”

Pinel, defended by Advocate Chris Baglin, claimed he did not recall the incident and had smoked cannabis shortly before carrying out the attack.

Advocate Baglin added: “Clearly it’s cruel and unnecessary, but it’s almost childlike. And there’s an element of holding back. This animal clearly suffered terribly, but there are no injuries.”

The defence further acknowledged it was an unusual case with few precedents and requested community service and a fine.

“We’re not in any area where we have a firm reference point,” Advocate Baglin said.

Magistrate Bridget Shaw, presiding, said: “I do recognise that it is unusual to send someone to custody for a first offence. But this is absolutely persistent, wanton and inexplicable cruelty to a cat and you accepted as much when you were interviewed by the police.

“I accept that you did not inflict physical injury. You are a big man, it was a small cat, and I recognise that you could have caused physical injury. But it’s clear the cat was terrified and you accept that yourself.

“This was wholly uncivilised behaviour, which is not acceptable in this community and I have to mark that in my view by a custodial sentence.

“I don’t accept that you were so affected by drink or drugs that you don’t remember. On the video, you look perfectly calm and in control. You could make your decisions and you did. And your decisions were to deal with that cat very cruelly.’