Shamed cat thrower in court after months of abuse, threats
IPSWICH teen Samuel Conroy faced a barrage of abuse when an online video of him laughing as he threw a cat over a fence in the suburbs of Ipswich went viral.
The cat was shown thumping into a neighbour's house after being hurled through the air by Conroy, who shared a chuckle with his mates.
The subsequent public humiliation and fallout from the cruel and stupid act led to a very apologetic Conroy, 19, pleading guilty in an Ipswich court to committing an act of animal cruelty.
As part of his punishment, Conroy will do 100 hours of unpaid community service work to give back to the community that he offended.
The Bundamba teenager apologised again when speaking to media outside the courthouse.
Conroy said he simply got angry when the cat kept scratching at the screen door at the rental house of his mates.
"That's what cats do," Ipswich Magistrate Donna MacCallum said after hearing the facts of the RSPCA prosecution case.
RSPCA prosecutor Kate Goven played the video before the magistrate during the sentencing hearing.
The RSPCA did not seek a fine, instead asking for a six-month probation order and community service work.
"He's been subject to public shaming," Ms Goven said.
Ms Goven said the RSPCA acknowledged "that extra punishment" received by Conroy from all the media attention and sought for no conviction be recorded because of his remorse and youth.
Legal costs of $1100 were sought.
Conroy, a farm hand with computer engineering skills, grew up in Mackay before moving to the Ipswich area.
The court heard he had no criminal history, and had given up drinking alcohol on New Year's Eve before the animal cruelty offence took place.
Comparable cases of animal cruelty were put before Ms MacCallum and included two where animals had died from injuries suffered.
Ms MacCallum said his case was relatively low-end in comparison.
"I would like to say I plead guilty and that I am very sorry for my actions," said Conroy.
"Why did you laugh," queried Ms MacCallum. "There seems to be some suggestion here that in the facts alleged the cat was thrown because bets had been placed to see how far it could be thrown onto the roof."
Conroy, who appeared alone in the court, said there had never been any bets placed, and the prosecutor said that allegation was not pressed as being fact.
"I did laugh as when I came back everyone was laughing," he said. "I didn't know it was recorded. In my stupidity I just laughed."
Ms MacCallum said it was "no laughing matter" and would have been terrifying for the cat.
She said the cat, when examined by the vet, was quite unhappy and upset at being touched.
"It was an appalling thing to do. I don't understand the rationale you say you were angry as the cat was scratching at the screen door," she told Conroy.
"That's what cats do."
Ms MacCallum sentenced Conroy to a 12-month supervised probation order and complete 100 hours of unpaid community service work.
A prohibition order was made in which he is banned from having animals for three years.