A woman has pleaded guilty to microwaving a kitten as punishment for killing her goldfish. Laura Cunliffe, age 23, admitted that she caused unnecessary suffering to her 4-month-old kitten Mowgli. The Hoyland, UK, woman said she became irate when the kitten killed her pet goldfish. She punished the cat by microwaving her for nearly five minutes.
Although Mowgli was alive when she was removed from the appliance, she suffered internal burns and was having difficulty breathing. In less than two hours, the kitten was dead.
RSPCA prosecutor Brian Orsborn said Cunliffe eventually took the kitten to a relatives home, where she arranged for burial.
Authorities became aware of the situation several days after it occurred. While in the hospital, Cunliffe confessed to microwaving her kitten. Although her story was difficult to believe, investigators with the RSPCA eventually identified several witnesses. As reported by Mirror, investigators confirmed the story with the man who buried Mawgli.
RSPCA deputy chief inspector Lynsey Harris said the case is “particularly horrendous,” as the cat suffered for nearly two hours:
“… the period of suffering for the kitten would have been awful… the exposure to the radiation in the microwave would have cooked the animal’s internal organs and that will have been pretty horrendous… the death of the cat would have been prolonged and it is unimaginable what it would have gone through, taking some time to die.”
BBC reports that Laura Cunliffe was arrested and charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. During a hearing, Cunliffe pleaded guilty to microwaving the kitten. She was released on bail pending the completion of her case. The defendant will return to the court for sentencing on March 13.
Defense attorney Alan Greaves explains that Cunliffe suffers from mental illness. She has been hospitalized in numerous occasions, as she suffers from depression and psychosis. Greaves said his client has been involuntarily hospitalized more than once.
Presiding magistrate Michael Marks said there are many factors to consider before sentencing. It is unclear whether the defendant’s history of mental illness will influence the magistrate’s decision.
Chief inspector Harris said the RSPCA’s main concern “is to get her banned from keeping animals so there is no risk of other animals” being harmed or killed while in her care.
Microwaving a kitten is certainly a horrendous crime. However, Laura Cunliffe’s ongoing struggle with mental illness may have prevented her from making a logical decision. The magistrate has less than a month to consider the evidence and impose a sentence.
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