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Accused in fatal Vancouver kitten beating awaits judge's decision

A man who beat his five-pound kitten so severely he fractured multiple bones and led to her being euthanized should be jailed for six months, a Crown prosecutor told a provincial court judge.
Yiming Zhu with his mom outside of the courthouse.

A Vancouver man who beat his five-pound kitten Pea so brutally that she had to be euthanized an hour later is now awaiting a judge’s decision on his punishment.

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

Crown prosecutor Rhianydd Bellis told Vancouver provincial court Judge Harbans Dhillon that Zhu was annoyed with Pea for scratching him overnight May 20-21, 2021

So, he took Pea outside to discipline her.

A horrified neighbour watched the events unfold after hearing sounds of an animal in distress.

Zhu kicked Pea and then flung her repeatedly, court heard.

“Each time, he smacked Pea onto the concrete,” Bellis said, adding he then put the cat on a fence. He then moved her to the lawn, put his foot on her and pulled her tail.

Police soon arrived and found the kitten on the grass.

“She was barely moving.”

An officer took her to an emergency animal hospital.

“She whimpered and moved her head very slightly,” Bellis said.

After an examination, Pea was euthanized.

“Her injuries were so extreme it was the most humane thing to do,” Bellis said.

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

“These are crimes of violence,” Bellis said. “It’s harder to think of a victim more vulnerable than a five-pound kitten except perhaps an infant.”

“Pea depended on Mr. Zhu for everything. Mr. Zhu’s deliberate beating of Pea and casing her death demands real jail,” the Crown said.

Bellis asked for six months jail, two years probation and a 25-year ban on having an animal.

Defence lawyer Michael Mines said Pea provoked Zhu.

“First, he was scratched on a prior date. Then he was bitten. Then he was scratched again,” Mines said. “That is provocation. He didn’t do it as an act of revenge.”

The lawyer said Zhu has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions and has donated $500 to an organization that finds homes for cats.

Mines suggested a non-custodial sentence of 15 months to be served in the community.

Zhu has recently completed an economics degree at the University of Alberta and hopes to attend Brunel University in the U.K. in the fall. That remains dependant on the sentence.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 29.