Cat hit by train in Paris sparks outrage in France

Cat hit by train in Paris sparks outrage in France

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Friday he was shocked after a cat was hit by a train in front of its owners in the capital Paris.

The hit-and-run is being considered deliberate, which has generated a wave of revolt in France. Darmanin announced that he would deploy 4,000 police and rangers across the country to collect reports of animal abuse and help prevent acts of violence.

“We choose to combat violence against animals. They are sensitive beings and particularly vulnerable to trafficking and acts of cruelty,” said the minister, in a video posted on social media. “All animals deserve our protection, and police forces from now on will fight against those who harm these beings.”

The incident took place on January 2 at Montparnasse station when the cat named Neko was hit by a high-speed train. It belonged to a woman and her 15-year-old daughter who were traveling by train from the French capital to the southern city of Bordeaux. The pet escaped from the transport case and took refuge under a train, according to the AFP news agency.

SNCF, the national railway operator, was informed of the cat’s presence under the train and of the rescue request. However, the vehicle left anyway and ran over the animal.

“We saw him cut in half,” the girl told animal protection foundation 30 Millions d’Amis. “They told us it wasn’t their problem, it was just a cat and we should have it on a leash.”

The train company would then have offered a free ticket to Bordeaux as compensation.

30 Millions d’Amis said it had filed a complaint of serious abuse and cruelty leading to the animal’s death. The foundation’s lawyer, Xavier Bacquet, said in an interview with broadcaster BFMTV that allowing the train to leave was a deliberate act, which, according to him, is criminally reprehensible.

If the case goes to court, those found guilty could face a fine of up to €75,000 (about R$416,000) and a five-year prison sentence. The SNCF expressed regret at Neko’s death, but said workers were not allowed to get off the tracks because of the danger of being electrocuted.

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