A teeny kitten named Oscar was the subject of a viral video last week, but for all the wrong reasons.
Farid Ghilas of Marseille, France, was sentenced to a year in prison for animal cruelty after he posted a video to his Facebook profile showing him hurling little Oscar against a building.
The video quickly sparked “widespread horror and outrage and even death threats aimed at the perpetrator,” reports CNET.
By the time Ghilas took the video down, it was too late. Facebook users had saved his profile information and created Facebook pages calling for his arrest.
The police took Ghilas into custody less than 24 hours after the video appeared online.
On Monday, just days later, some 200 animal-rights activists, accompanied by about 20 dogs, gathered outside a Marseille criminal court as the 24-year-old man was sentenced on charges of “acts of cruelty against a domestic and tame animal.” The offence carries a maximum prison term of two years and a fine of 30,000 euros (about $US40,500).
Ghilas barely apologized for his actions.
“I do not know what came over me,” he reportedly said several times, in a translated version of a Metro News article. “I walked around the neighbourhood. Cat came to me. I took it, I swung.”
As for Oscar, he was thankfully rescued by a bystander who witnessed the ordeal. He has a fractured leg and is now being cared for by the Marseille SPA. Oscar’s guardian will reportedly be able to recover the pet soon.
As CNET points out, “if the Internet’s past record of kindness to vulnerable animals and the many well wishes posted to the SPA’s Facebook page are any indication, he now has supporters the world over.”