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The Tuscaloosa viral cat video posted on social media November 2 has created a firestorm in the animal advocacy community. There are two questions circulation about this case on social media: why no arrest and is this the same cat?
This November 11 article on Pictures-of-cats.org details the abuse a cat named Jenny suffered allegedly at the hands of Brandon White, a student at the University of Alabama. White can be seen striking Jenny with one hand that was holding a belt viciously striking her while holding her with his other hand around her neck. The video made its way to Twitter on November 2. Photos were also uploaded to Snap Chat showing a cat being choked by White. Neither he nor his mother, who is a member of law enforcement in the community, have been cooperative in the investigation.
Fox6 News reported November 5 on a plea sent out by Tuscaloosa Police Department Chief Steven Anderson asking for the person who shot the video to come forward. Not being able to prove what jurisdiction the animal abuse occurred in would make it difficult to press charges for animal cruelty.
Fox6 News updated the case November 9 stating Jenny had been located and examined by a vet, but was unharmed after her ordeal. Police were allowed into the White’s apartment by a woman on November 3, but none of the items seen in the video were found in the apartment. Once Jenny was finally located, investigators took photographs and a video of the cat and gathered documentation showing that the cat had been seen by a vet. The vet’s receipt listed a physical examination as well as rabies and a FVRCPC vaccine, with nothing to prove nor disprove internal injuries such as an MRI.
For just a moment, put on your “detective hats” and examine the two photos in this Examiner article. The photo on the left shows a tabby and white cat with a large amount of gray running down the back and onto the front left leg. The photo on the right is being questioned because a lot of the gray area is hidden.
Take a moment to examine the photo of the officer holding Jenny. Her body is twisted around sideways, so Jenny appears to have a lot more white than the cat in the video. A photo should be posted showing a full side view for better comparison. And White should be arrested immediately and charged with animal cruelty. When is it acceptable to beat a cat? A list of Tuscaloosa City Council members can be found here.
According to a November 11 press release, the Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward. Mindy Gilbert, Alabama state director for The HSUS said
“The video of the cat being beaten has quickly gone viral with thousands of people expressing concern for the welfare of the cat and demanding an investigation into the event, allegedly committed by a student attending the University of Alabama. Deliberately abusing an animal and then posting a video of the abuse is not acceptable.”
Anyone with information about the case – specifically who made the video and where and when it was filmed – should contact Investigator Akers at 205-248-4520, or CrimeStoppers at 205-752-7867.
Please share your thoughts on whether this is the same cat and what action you believe should be taken against Brandon White. Is the family receiving preferential treatment because mom works in law enforcement? Or is it because the Tuscaloosa Police Department can’t prove where the abuse took place? Updates on this case are being posted to Facebook: Tuscaloosa Police Department.