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Fatal kitten beating nets B.C. man four months in jail

The five-month-old kitten was in "critical distress" and was too badly injured to be treated.
Yiming Zhu with his mother outside Vancouver provincial court.

A Vancouver man who so violently assaulted his five-month-old kitten that she had to be put down in May 2021 will spend four months in jail, a Vancouver provincial court judge ruled June 29.

Yiming Zhu, 23, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal. He was also charged with killing or injuring an animal.

“It lost its life directly due to Mr. Zhu’s cruelty,” Judge Harbans Dhillon said. “The degree of violence is highly concerning. The moral gravity of the offence is high.”

Dhillon called Pea the cat defenceless, saying the denouncing of such behaviour by courts must send a strong message.

“He continued to attack the animal notwithstanding the fact that its cries of pain were significant enough to awaken a neighbour,” the judge said, noting the cries were “a clear sign it was suffering.” 

Soon after Zhu got the kitten, he found the stress of his studies coupled with caring for a pet too much, court heard. Pea was not using the litter box and was biting and scratching him, the judge said.

So, he decided to discipline the kitten, an animal Dhillon said was wholly dependent and reliant on Zhu for care.

“I do not accept that disciplining an animal for its natural behaviour is justified,” she said.

The court heard Zhu swung the cat by the tail into the concrete, later moving her to the lawn, where he put his foot on her and pulled her tail.

Pea was still alive when police arrived and took her to an emergency vet.

“The vet determined the animal was in critical distress. It was too severely injured to be treated and was humanely euthanized,” Dhillon said.

Pea’s injuries included multiple leg, hip and pelvis fractures, an injury to her nose and a collapsed lung.

Zhu was led from court in handcuffs as his mother watched.

He is also banned from owning an animal or bird for 25 years; he also can't be in the custody of or in a house with an animal or bird for the same time period. There is no probationary period.

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