Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18809
Classification: Other
Animal: cat
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Animal was offleash or loose
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Saturday, Oct 29, 2011

Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 2 files available

Alleged: Riain Richards

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

The RSPCA has urged the public to help identify a man caught on CCTV swinging a cat by its tail.

Footage shows the animal attacker appear to dance down a road in Ramsgate, Kent, with the black cat at arm's length in scenes of abuse that last for more than 30 seconds.

At one point a man thought to be an accomplice is struck by the spinning two-year-old cat, whose name is Mowgli.

RSPCA Inspector Caroline Doe said: "This was a very violent, nasty attack on a cat.

"Anyone who witnessed this outside the pub must have been as shocked and appalled as we were. We are hoping that someone will recognise this man and come forward so we can investigate this fully."

Owner Michelle Buchanan, an IT teacher from Ramsgate, said: "It's horrific. I can't believe anyone would do something that cruel."

"Mowgli is emotional. He's just distraught. He won't go out the door."

The cat escaped the attack outside the Camden Arms pub, on October 29 at 8.30pm, without physical injury.

But Ms Buchanan, who lives alone with her two other cats Missy and Milly, believes the incident has affected him.

"When I got home he was in my bed so that he would feel secure.

"Now, he'll go as far as the door and turn back. He used to be outside constantly. He'd be scratching at the window."

Her other pets have been affected by the attack too, she said.

"Before this happened my cats used to sit outside the house on the steps and everybody knew them. Since then none of them do that."

The assault echoes an incident in August 2010 when bank worker Mary Bale gained worldwide infamy after she threw a cat into a bin outside its owners' home in Coventry.

Bale received abusive phone calls and death threats from as far away as Australia, after what she called a "split second of misjudgement" was caught on CCTV and uploaded to YouTube.

She was fined £250 and also ordered to pay a victim surcharge and costs, totalling £1,436. The RSPCA described it as "a very fair decision".

Case Updates

This is the man caught on CCTV footage swinging a terrified cat by its tail.

Riain Richards, 20, caused public revulsion with his "horrific" abuse of two-year-old Mowgli.

Shocking CCTV images showed him dancing along the road, reportedly being egged on by three friends and swinging the animal repeatedly in scenes of abuse lasting more than 30 seconds.

Police swooped on his home yesterday after the RSPCA received numerous tip-offs identifying him following media appeals, but he was not there.

He handed himself in to police this morning, accompanied by his solicitor, and was being interviewed by detectives today. The animal charity is preparing to bring a private prosecution.

The attack on Mowgli happened outside the Camden Arms pub in Ramsgate, Kent, on October 29. Richards fled to his grandmother's house after the hunt for him was launched, and has been under pressure from his family to turn himself in.

A source close to the investigation said: "He handed himself in to police in Margate. His family were putting him under huge pressure as police were talking to them last night.

"His brother said he was going to beat him up over it."

The RSPCA said Richards could be charged with cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act. If convicted the maximum sentence he faces is 51 weeks in jail and/or a fine of up to £20,000.

Mowgli's owner Michelle Buchanan, 43, an IT teacher from Ramsgate, said: "I'm overwhelmed with the support I've had. You can imagine what people are saying should be done with those responsible. There's definitely a sense of anger from people."

Ms Buchanan alerted the RSPCA when the pub landlord told her what they had spotted on the CCTV. Today the charity thanked the media and the public for their help.
Source: - Nov 11, 2011
Update posted on Nov 11, 2011 - 7:16PM 


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