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Old January 19th, 2003, 08:38 PM
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Teen who set fire to cat must do community service

Teen who set fire to cat must do community service

Kevin O'Connor

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

A teenage girl who set lit a cat on fire has been found guilty of animal cruelty and sentenced to 80 hours of community service.

After finding the 16-year-old Regina girl guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, Judge Leslie Halliday gave her a 10-month conditional discharge.

As a result, if the teen follows the conditions of her probation, she will not have a criminal record.

Halliday also banned the girl from possessing animals. She can't be named under provisions of the Young Offenders Act.

The girl was part of a group of young people who found the tabby in a cat trap on the 1400 block of Robinson Street last July 17.

Halliday said she accepted the Crown's case that the girl pushed papers into the cat trap and used her lighter to set the cat ablaze.

(The girl said it was another person who used her lighter.)

Another youth then sprayed lighter fluid inside the trap.

The cat suffered severe burns with the fur and skin around its face being badly singed.

The girl's co-accused, the 16-year-boy who used the lighter fluid, previously pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges and was given an identical sentence on Nov. 21, 2002 -- 10 months of probation, a conditional discharge and 80 hours of community service.

Halliday said it was "a very unfortunate incident" the girl got involved in and she hopes she'll never again be in trouble with the law.

Jessi Rasmussen of the Regina Humane Society's animal protection branch said Tuesday's sentence closes the book on two cat-burning cases from last year that shocked the public.

In October, a 14-year-old boy was sentenced to 80 hours of community service for his part in a July incident where a kitten was set on fire.

Rasmussen said she was pleased the courts are taking cases of animal cruelty seriously and hopes others will be detered from committing such acts in future.

"Hopefully, this has taught all the young people out there that society will not tolerate this kind of treatment of animals," Rasmussen said.

The cat discussed in Tuesday's court proceedings -- named Trooper -- suffered permanent scarring and some vision loss.

"The good news is that he's in a wonderful home in a new environment," Rasmussen said.

Copyright 2003 The Leader-Post (Regina)
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