KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court handed a jail term of 34 months and a fine to a man who killed a cat by stuffing it into the dryer of a launderette, the first such conviction under a new animal welfare law.
In Tuesday's (Nov 5) judgment, which the court stayed pending appeal, K Ganesh, 42, was ordered to pay a fine of 40,000 ringgit (US$9,700) for his crime, captured in a closed-circuit television clip that went viral on social media last year.
The grainy video showed two of three men putting the cat, which was pregnant, into the dryer at about midnight on Sep 11 last year.
In the video obtained from the laundry facility, one of them can be seen lifting the cat from the floor as the other opened the dryer door.
After they place the cat inside the machine, the men close the door and walk away. They return shortly after to put some coins into the dryer and activate the machine.
The men then watch as the machine whirred with the cat still in it.
The cat was later found dead in the dryer by a customer.
"I hope this sentence will serve as a lesson to the accused and the public to not be cruel to animals," Judge Rasyihah Ghazali said.
She ordered that Ganesh serve another four months’ jail if he fails to pay the fine.
The court allowed a stay of execution of the sentence following an application by Ganesh’s lawyer, S. Muthuveeran, to appeal to the High Court, but increased Ganesh’s bail from RM12,000 to RM20,000.
Earlier, Selangor Veterinary Services Department prosecuting officer Roslan Mohd Isa requested the court to impose a heavy sentence as the crime committed by the accused had gone viral and had angered a lot of people.
“The case involved a domestic cat that did not pose a threat to the accused. The accused has no respect at all for life and does not regard the animal as also having the right to live,” he added.
Media said Ganesh's lawyer had sought a minimal sentence as it was Ganesh's first offence and he was poor.
It was not immediately clear why the men put the cat into the dryer.
It is the first case to be prosecuted under the law since it was enforced in July 2017.
On Jan 17, taxi driver A Mohanraj, 42, who also appeared in the video, was sentenced to two years’ jail for a similar offence after he changed his not guilty plea to guilty.
Another of Mohanraj friend, S Satthiya, 27, was given a discharge without an acquittal for the same offence.