Memorial to tortured cat unveiled in St Petersburg
Russian cat lovers have crowdfunded a memorial statue to a cat, who was tortured to death by a cruel couple who also filmed their acts. The pet killers were sentenced to prison terms earlier this year.
The small bronze statue of a ginger cat named Kuzya was unveiled at a pet cemetery in St. Petersburg last week. It will serve as a reminder of the creature’s sad story and as a tribute to all animals who fall victim to human abuse, according to the campaign’s web page.
The shocking death of Kuzya was first reported last September after footage of his mistreatment was published online by the perpetrators. He’d been abducted by the couple from the city of Severodvinsk in the northern Arkhangelsk region, an escalation in an ongoing family feud.
The pet killers were identified by police as Artyem Lavrentyev and Anna-Viktoria Gromovich, both in their 40s. The woman reportedly had an intense conflict with her partner’s mother, so the two snatched the older woman’s cat and abused him on camera for revenge. Kuzya, who was aged 14 at the time, died after enduring about a week in their captivity.
The pair were charged with animal cruelty and, after trial, were each sentenced in February to over three years in prison.
“I killed the cat because he was very much like his owner,” Gromovich reportedly stated during proceedings. “She did dirt on me, a lot, right to the core of my soul.”
A lawyer for the cat’s owner said her client believed the sentence was too mild. The maximum punishment for animal cruelty in Russia is five years in prison.
Amid the scandal, the couple lost parental custody over their child, a little girl. Gromovich reportedly claimed that this decision was unfair and that it stemmed only from the animal cruelty case.
But a family court decided that she had issues with alcohol abuse and that the child would be better off with her great-grandmother, who had a record of caring for the girl.