The Humane Society of Canada is outraged by the Toronto International Film Festivals Decision to air the film CASUISTRY: The Art of Killing a Cat
A case of ruthless and calculated cruelty inflicted on a defenceless stray cat that shocked the city of Toronto, ON. Two people, Jessie Powers and Anthony Wennekers were charged with mischief and cruelty to animals. On April 18 2002, each received a jail sentence of 90 days plus time served. After an extensive manhunt, the third person, Matt Kaczorowski was apprehended in Vancouver on March 8, 2003. While he was charged with mischief, theft and possession of property obtained in a crime, he could not be charged with cruelty to animals as the charge for animal expires after 6 months. Matt did plead guilty to mischief and animal cruelty and received a sentence of time served plus 3 years of probation during which time he must receive counselling, not own animals or weapons, 200 hrs of community service, reside in an approved area and stay out of Toronto.
This hoax site was originated by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student as a prank to amuse his friends, using MIT's site as host. The site was soon visited by people well beyond the student group who where rightly horrified by the cruelty they saw.
In response to the many complaints we have received about the Bonsai Kitten Website, we are providing the following information to try to answer the questions that concerned animal lovers will no doubt have about the site in question.
The site was originated by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student as a prank to amuse his friends, using MIT's site as host. The site was soon visited by people well beyond the student group, who, rightly horrified by the cruelty they saw, began to complain to the site's host and to the creator of the site himself.
In response to this, MIT, the host, closed the site down, but in spite of this, the student was successful in keeping the site active by finding an alternative host.
Since then the site has resurfaced on several different hosting sites for short periods of time, lasting until each new host responded in turn to demands to close the site down.
Now, regrettably, the site appears to have found a compliant host who apparently refuses to remove it.
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) took action many months ago as soon as we heard about the existence of the site. As well as contacting the Massachusetts SPCA, and the New York authorities, where the website creator initially appeared to reside, Michael O'Sullivan, The HSC Chairman & CEO, contacted the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the Internal Revenue Service to advise them of the site and of the muscle relaxants and other restricted drugs offered for sale there.
However, it has since been found that no evidence of the actual sale of any of these products on the site has been shown to have occurred, so it is unlikely that either of these agencies were able to take action.
The Massachusetts SPCA and the FBI have both investigated this site. They have found no evidence of actual animal abuse taking place, and no sale of bonsai kitten products occurring. However, they do continue to monitor the site and the activities around it.
Regrettably, one of the key battle grounds over the use of the Internet is the issue concerning freedom of expression and speech. There are many individuals and organizations who argue vehemently that there should be no censorship of any kind on the Internet, and admit that while they might not always agree with what someone has to say, they defend the individual's right to say it.
But what about the animal's rights? Who speaks for them? Does this mean the Internet will spawn a new era of cyber cruelty to animals? (For example, in the past, we protested vigorously and eBay removed an ad for someone trying to sell a dead cat he claimed to have run over. Other sites offer live animals and birds for the zoo, pet and research trades).
The best advice we can offer to those who are rightly concerned about this site, is not to email or otherwise contact the creator of the site, as the negative attention he receives apparently just contributes to his determination to continue promoting the site.
What might be useful, however, is to contact the current Internet Service Provider to ask for removal. With sufficient pressure, even this ISP may succumb and insist upon removal.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you encounter new information regarding the Bonsai Kitten site or if you find other sites depicting or encouraging animal cruelty.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our site and to review this information. The Humane Society of Canada shares your views that we need to keep on fighting to protect animals and the earth.