Wheelie bin cat woman fined £250

Caroline Cassidy

Mary Bale, the woman who was caught on camera dumping a cat in a wheelie bin, was fined £250 yesterday and banned from keeping pets for five years.

Mary Bale seen stroking Lola the cat
Mary Bale seen stroking Lola the cat

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Appearing in court, the 45-year-old admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to the cat, which was found distressed 15 hours later by owner Darryl Mann, but the district judge at Coventry magistrates' court took into account the resulting public villification and Bale's "genuine remorse".

The court heard that Bale had been "stressed" at the time of the incident as her elderly father was seriously ill after a fall. He sadly died last week.

Though judge Caroline Goulborn told her that stress was "no excuse", she added: "It was clearly an impulsive act that you cannot explain, but I accept your remorse is genuine.

"You have been villified in some quarters and I have taken that into account."

As well as the fine and the ban, Bale was ordered to pay costs of £1,171 and a £15 victim surcharge, but animal lovers are calling for a more severe sentence.

Speaking outside the court, Bale's lawyer David Murray explained that she had been suffering from depression and "bitterly regretted" her actions.

But some animal lovers were not content with the fine and the ban, suggesting that "being confined to a cell for 15 hours with the lights turned off the whole time may have rammed home what she subjected the poor cat to".

What do you think? Was Bale's fine a touch lenient or is the abuse and villification that she has already dealt with enough? Leave your comments below...