9 lives or not, attack on cat spotlights disturbing animal cruelty trend

By in Press Enterprise on December 27, 2017

By David Downey

Spot, a 3.8-pound calico kitten with black and brown markings, squirmed and meowed as Dr. Cynthia Kinney changed the cushioned bandage on her fractured right front leg.

Moments later, the new bandage was in place and the 4 1/2-month-old cat was snuggling against Kinney’s face.

“She’s so adorable,” said Silvia Lemus, an animal cruelty investigator for the Inland Valley Humane Society and S.P.C.A. in Pomona, which serves about a dozen communities in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. “She’s so active and playful.”

It’s hard to believe, Lemus said, this is the same kitten who was hurled 75 feet through the air in one of the most heartbreaking examples of animal cruelty in recent years before crash-landing on an Ontario street. A video was posted on social media earlier this month and it immediately went viral.

“This is one of the worst,” Kinney said. “I just can’t believe she survived.”

The attack has highlighted the problem of animal cruelty, one that doesn’t seem to be increasing across Southern California, according to statistics, but one that continues to stubbornly persist.

The case also underscores the prominent role social media can play, both for good and ill, experts say. For good, in terms of quickly enabling authorities to track down people suspected of harming an animal. For bad, in that the exposure could be a motivation for carrying out an attack.

It could be a way of saying, “Look at what I did,” said Dr. Michele Nelson, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the UC Riverside School of Medicine.

“Social media has changed a lot of things,” Nelson said.

Like a football

In the shocking Dec. 1 video, a teenage boy kisses Spot, as if to kiss the kitten goodbye, then leans back and hurls her high and far into the air as if throwing a long pass in a football […]    

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