Volume 96, Issue 86
Thursday, March 13, 2003

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Criminal Code doesn't help kittens

From the far lane
Emmett Macfarlane
News Editor

The third and final suspect in a cat torture case was captured in Vancouver, two years after he allegedly helped mutilate a cat as part of an art project for the Ontario College of Art and Design.

In the spring of 2001, three young men created a video of themselves torturing a cat as what they believed to be an artistic statement denouncing meat-eaters.

It's the type of story that blurs one's vision with anger.

The irony that three people would commit heinous brutality against a defenseless animal in order to denounce animal cruelty escapes no one. But that isn't the most frustrating aspect of this case.

The details are disturbing and graphic, so you may not want to read further. Jesse Power, Anthony Wennekers and the recently captured Matthew Kaczorowski created a 17-minute video which begins with the three of them teasing a black and white cat with a mouse.

The men quickly became violent, beating and stabbing the little animal. They skinned it alive – during most of the 17 minutes the animal wailed continuously. They then gouged out one of its eyes, gutted it and then hanged it with a coat hanger.

Equally revolting were the "punishments" dealt to Power and Wennekers. Wennekers was only given time served (which could also be called no punishment) because he had been jailed until the end of his trial.

Power, who seemed to be the ringleader (the video was for his class), was given 90 days in jail to be served over 16 weekends. There's no way to describe the court's dealing with these sick bastards other than just calling it plain stupid. A guy tortured a living, breathing animal in an unimaginably inhuman way and he got grounded for a few weekends?

For his part, the recently arrested Kaczorowski will only be charged with mischief, because the animal cruelty charge expired after six months.

At this point, half of those reading this are wishing we had capital punishment laws in this country, and the other half are thinking "it's just a dumb cat." I'd respond to the latter half by suggesting you really don't want perverted wackos like these three walking the streets. At the same time, I guess I can't really advocate the death penalty for them, even though I wouldn't mind seeing them dead.

In the absence of my becoming God and doing some old-fashioned smiting, it's time for the federal government to reconsider the effectiveness of certain areas of the Criminal Code. Why should animal cruelty charges expire after six months? And while we're at it, let's apply some statutory punishments – like real jail time.

Of course, any changes to laws pertaining to animal cruelty should not apply to cattle, pig and chicken farmers (in terms of standard farm animal treatment), even though, in this pathetic case, that may have been what the perpetrators were trying to protest.

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2002 THE GAZETTE