Teens plead guilty to lesser charges in cat microwaving case
Two teens in Camrose, Alta., pleaded guilty Monday to lesser charges of break and enter in a December 2007 home invasion where a cat was killed in a microwave.
The boys, aged 16 and 14, were also set to go on trial on animal cruelty charges, which included killing an animal, but those charges were dropped after the teens pleaded guilty to break and enter to cause mischief.
One of the teens pleaded guilty to an additional charge of breach of recognizance.
The 14-year-old was sentenced to nine months probation. The older boy received 10 months probation. Both must serve 100 hours of community service, and follow a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Crown prosecutor John Laluk said he had sufficient evidence the teens were not directly involved in putting the cat in the microwave.
"It was clear after interviewing other kids that nobody planned ahead of time to do anything to the cat. It was a spur of the moment thing and that these two particular individuals weren't even in the room when the cat was put in the microwave," he told reporters outside the courthouse
Laluk said he would have had a difficult time proving the teens could have known before they broke into the house that someone would kill a cat.
"So if you go into someone's house and you damage property, it's reasonably foreseeable the other party might break a TV or break a lamp. But is it reasonably foreseeable that they would microwave a cat?" he asked.
Animal rights activists carried signs and laid wreaths bearing the name of the killed family cat in front of the courthouse.
Tove Reece, executive director of the Edmonton group Voice for Animals, said she was disappointed the Crown dropped the animal cruelty charges, and thought the teens received an overly light sentence.
Reece expressed relief the case is now over.
"I think the fact that there was so much community outrage against what happened here, you know, is in many ways to me a good sign," she said. "It does show that people will not tolerate this kind of cruelty towards animals."
The other two teens involved in the case pleaded guilty in June to charges which included break and enter, and theft, mischief and causing unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to an animal.
The youths, both 16 at the time they were charged, were sentenced in September to one year probation and 100 hours of community service.
None of the boys can be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Camrose is 100 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.