Cat-killer spared after privacy ‘invaded’

Kyodo

A 27-year-old man from Hiroshima Prefecture was given a six-month suspended prison term Monday for mutilating and killing a cat in May and posting photos of his actions on the Internet.

Presiding Judge Atsushi Tomita of the Fukuoka District Court said Jun Matsubara committed “a vicious crime” by killing the cat and showing it on an Internet bulletin board.

Accusing Matsubara of violating legislation governing the protection and control of animals, the judge said his acts traumatized many people.

But Tomita said he was suspending the sentence for three years because “after the incident, the privacy of even Matsubara’s family was violated and they were humiliated by various kinds of harassment.”

Private information about Matsubara and his family was posted on the Internet by people angered by his crime.

In this sense, the judge said that the Matsubara had endured social punishments that had “gone too far.”

The Fukuoka Prefectural Police and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department had referred the case file to public prosecutors. The Fukuoka District Public Prosecutor’s Office then arrested and indicted Matsubara, who denied the allegations.

According to the ruling, Matsubara, who lived in Fukuoka at the time, used a pair of scissors to cut off the tail, left ear and other parts of a stray cat at his home on May 6 and May 7. He then choked the cat using string and threw the animal into a river near his home.

Public feeling over the case has been strong, with the Fukuoka District Public Prosecutor’s Office receiving some 3,000 letters and e-mail messages calling for Matsubara to be punished harshly.