Last June, I wrote about two men arrested in Canada who had videotaped gruesome scenes of themselves and a third, as yet unidentified man, torturing and killing a cat (see Did Animal Activist Torture Cat?). At the time there was speculation among people who knew Anthony Ryan Wennekers, 24, and Jessie Champlain Powers, 21, that they had made their videotape to highlight the plight of animals.
In fact, that was the argument their lawyer made in arguing for light sentences for Wennekers and Powers. Lawyer Andrea Tuck-Jackson told a Toronto court last week that Power was an art student at The Ontario College of Art and Design who wanted “to challenge the decision of people who choose to eat meat.”
Wennekers and Powers plead guilty to charges of mischief and cruelty to animals rather than go to trial.
Tuck-Jackson argued that since her client was a vegan and a pacifist (who just happens to torture and kill cats on occasion), he should receive a 60 to 90 day jail sentence along with the equivalent of 12 to 18 months under house arrest. The maximum sentence that each man could receive would be 2 and a half years in jail.
After reading what Tuck-Jackons and Wennekers did to the cat, however, it is difficult to believe that they do not deserve the maximum. Here’s how The Ottawa Citizen described the 17-minute videotape that was played in court (warning this is extremely graphic and disgusting),
The 17-minute tape shows Mr. Power, Mr. Wennekers and an unidentified man putting the cat in a makeshift noose. The two have declined to help police identify the third man.
As the cat is flails [sic] in the noose, the men stab and slash at repeatedly at it. About halfway through the video, one man can be heard saying, “It’s still alive.”
The cat is stabbed several more times and two men kick the animal as it dangles from the cat’s neck and stomach area are sliced before it dies and the video ends.
The cat’s cries of pain can be heard throughout the attack. Several people in the public gallery blocked their ears, bowed their heads and could be heard crying during the presentation.
As prosecutor Robin Flumerfelt put told the court, “The videotape makes it clear that what these men lack is an appreciation of the wrongfulness of their crime.” Flumerfelt argued that the men should receive the maximum possible sentence.
Student tortured cat to support animal rights, lawyer tells court: Video of the killing brings public to tears. Shannon Kari, The Ottawa Citizen, March 29, 2002.
Cat torture horrifies court: ‘Art’ video of men skinning stray prompts tears, disgust from spectators. Nancy Carr. Montreal Gazette, March 29, 2002.
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