A man charged with animal abuse for torturing kittens to death has been re-arrested and charged with fraud after outraged cat lovers submitted a petition to police demanding harsher punishment.
45-year-old “self-styled” company employee Katsumi Hirose, a resident of Kawasaki, was convicted of killing 3 kittens in November, having come to police attention when the 52-year-old woman who had given him a kitten visited his house and discovered a discarded cat carcass near his apartment, and subsequently alerted police.
At the time of his initial November arrest, he told that police that “I did it because I got mad when it made a mess on the floor. I got about 10 of them over the Internet since May, one I threw into the river, the rest escaped.”
He is thought to have posted a lengthy and gleeful account of how he tortured a kitten to death on 2ch’s notorious “animal hater” board (which consists in large part of animal abuse stories and advocacy, excused on the board as being “only fantasy” but widely derided on the rest of 2ch as being a “gathering of psychopaths” and a “breeding ground for animal abusers”).
Posting under the name of “Hammer,” his posts include graphic details of how he broke the cat’s legs and repeatedly maimed it with pliers.
He refers to this cat as “kusoneko five,” suggesting he has been pursuing his ghastly hobby for some time, and evidently took great delight in the distressed reaction of both the cat and 2ch. Earlier writings by “Hammer” include details of him torturing another cat with hammer, lighter and pliers over a protracted period.
With the chance of a jail sentence for animal cruelty almost non-existent, outraged cat lovers soon organised themselves, culminating in a petition with over 2,600 names being forwarded to the local police station, demanding more severe punishment (although 2ch’s many entreaties that he be subjected to the death penalty seem likely to be ignored).
Police were apparently sufficiently persuaded that the kitten “was of great value” to its original owner, and took the unusual step of charging Hirose with fraud for obtaining the kitten under false pretences. He is also likely to be sued in civil courts by the cat-owners he “defrauded” of their kittens.
The fraud charges centre on him deceiving a 52-year-old woman he met on an online cat adoption board into letting him adopt a male kitten from her, saying he would take good care of him when he in fact intended to torture and kill him.
Hirose told police that he tricked the woman into giving him the cat, saying “I pretended I liked it” and admitted that “I had no intention of looking after it. I needed to let off some stress, so I wanted a cat to abuse.”
He signed a pledge to “lovingly rear the cat as a member of my family” when he took custody of the animal. He then tortured it and threw it into a nearby river the next day.
Animal cruelty carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a million yen in fines (although prison sentences are unusual and most cases apparently end with charges being dropped), whereas fraud carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and is viewed as a considerably more serious offence.
Just what sentence fraudulently adopting a kitten for the purpose of torturing it to death will attract is not clear, although cat lovers are hoping that he may now actually face a jail sentence.