Laura Cunliffe killed her pet kitten by cooking it in a microwave, but the 23-year-old from England will now face just 14 weeks in jail for her crime.
Cunliffe had pleaded guilty to putting her black-and-white Mowgli in the microwave for five minutes after she thought it attacked her goldfish. She was arrested and charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, in a killing that District Judge John Foster called an “act of utterly horrendous cruelty.”
Laura Cunliffe told the court that she left the kitten in the microwave for a minute before realizing what she had done and taking it out.
RSPCA deputy chief inspector Lynsey Harris said the case was “horrendous,” adding that the cat suffered for two hours before dying:
“… 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.”
This week, animal abuse activists also spoke out in support of the jail term for Cunliffe.
“Sentencing is a matter for the courts but we hope this means other animals will not have to suffer in the future in this way,” a RSPCA spokeswoman said.
Cunliffe’s lawyer said she has struggled with psychotic depression and has been committed under her country’s mental health act 20 times already in her short life.
At her sentencing, members of Laura Cunliffe’s family shouted from the gallery that the woman needed medical help, not jail time.
“She doesn’t know what’s happening — she hasn’t a clue,” one man shouted.
After being convicted of putting her cat in the microwave and killing it, Laura Cunliffe will now be banned from keeping animals for the rest of her life. She has the opportunity to appeal this ban, but must wait five years.