The outrage over the case of the cat Neko, who was hit by a train in Paris, does not abate. Now even France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has spoken out. He was shocked at the way the French railway company SNCF had handled the terrible affair. The investigations will show who is criminally responsible, the minister told French television broadcaster BFMTV on Friday.
The cat had escaped from the carrier bag of its owners – a woman named Georgia and her 15-year-old daughter Melaïna – on January 2 at the Montparnasse train station and disappeared under a train. Despite twenty minutes of negotiations with the staff, they could not prevent the train from departing, as Melaïna told the animal welfare organization “30 million friends”.
They were told it wasn’t their problem, it was just a cat and they should have kept her on a leash. The animal was run over when the train was leaving and, according to the owners, died instantly. They only saw the cat’s carcass, as Melaïna explained to BFTMV.
The organization “30 million friends” has meanwhile sued SNCF for “serious mistreatment and cruelty that led to the death of an animal”. If it goes to trial, a fine of up to 75,000 euros and a five-year prison sentence could be imposed.
As the daily newspaper “Le Parisien” wrote, the SNCF regretted the tragic incident and stated that it could not save the cat because there was a risk of electrocution when stepping onto the tracks.
Minister Darmanin wants to fight animal cruelty better with training for police officers across the country, he announced on Twitter. Animals are vulnerable, sentient beings who deserve our protection, he explained. “The acts of violence they sometimes endure are unbearable. For this reason, I have decided to increase the means of combating this violence, which the French no longer accept.”
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