Cats are born equipped with defiant attitudes, night vision, and claws, so it doesn’t take anything more to make them “goth.” At least I always thought so. A Pennsylvania woman with kittens to sell had different ideas. She gave the animals ear and neck piercings, docked their tails, and then pierced their tail nubs. Why? She thought it would look “neat.” Then she listed them on eBay for $100, until PETA and the local ASPCA noticed and came calling. She was convicted of animal cruelty, and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently affirmed her sentence and conviction on the grounds that no one could possibly be stupid enough to think that this was a good idea. I paraphrase.
The piercings were on the animals’ ears, the scruffs of their necks, and at the tips of their docked tails. (You can see pictures, which may be upsetting to animal lovers, here, here, and here.) Docking was performed using the banding method, which is common for dogs and farm animals with docked tails, but inappropriate for cats. The woman defended her actions, using the examples of declawing surgery for cats and debarking surgery for dogs, both of which are controversial but legal. The court’s response was that these procedures have a purpose, while putting a metal ring through the scruff of a cat’s neck kinda doesn’t. The judge wrote in her 19-page opinion:
Again, appellant’s claims center on her premise that a person of
normal intelligence would not know whether piercing a kitten’s ears or
banding its tail is maiming, mutilating, torturing, or disfiguring an animal.
While some baby humans have pierced ears, cats and humans are–newsflash!–different from each other. The kitty piercer was sentenced to house arrest and probation, and had to shut down her dog-grooming business for two years. Business was down for some reason after her arrest, anyway.
The kittens, now going on three years old, were all adopted.
Piercing Cats Is Cruelty, Judges Rule [NY Times] (Thanks, Howard!)
Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence, April 12, 2010 [PDF]