At least Saudi Arabia takes its animal rights seriously.
Authorities in the Gulf kingdom are hunting for an apparent serial cat killer after a video from Jeddah surfaced online, showing a man shooting the felines.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture released a statement stating it was cooperating with security officials to catch the culprit. The suspect allegedly filmed himself firing at stray cats using what appears to be an assault rifle. He later shared his footage on Snapchat.
In one instance, the man displayed his scorn for people who lay out bowls of water for animals, out of which a cat was drinking. He then aimed his firearm at the feline and shot it. The poor animal writhed in agony on the ground and the video switched to the footage of the suspect sporting Snapchat’s catface and voice filter.
The man later expressed anger for cats dirtying his car and said killing the animals saved him “the price for four car washes.” He later hurled profanity at the people he knew would criticize his actions.
The video caused a furor among Saudi authorities and the public condemning the animal cruelty.
“The ministry reaffirms that this disgraceful act stands contrary to the teaching of our Islamic faith, which calls for companionship with animals, and stands contrary to the regulations of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the ministry said in a statement.
Saudi social media users condemned the man under the Arabic hashtag “we want the serial killer held accountable.” Many said the suspect should be placed behind bars while others called for his execution.
“God willing you won’t be alive by the time morning comes,” wrote one user.
“Hellfire and misery is the fate God has planned for you. There’s nothing sweeter than cats, people,” another user wrote.
Netizens also came up with more creative punishments for the unrepentant man.
“I hope they tie him up in a zoo for a month instead of sending him to prison, I know the animals are more honorable than him, but just so he can feel what it’s like to be disciplined by others,” one user suggested.
Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s holiest city, Mecca, also called for the arrest of the cat shooter, according to his Twitter account.
However, even if captured, the man may not face arrest. Ahmad Al-Buq from the Saudi Nature Protection Agency told a local news outlet that street cats are not under the protection of the kingdom’s wildlife and hence, the crime will fall under Saudi Arabia’s animal welfare system, which could impose a fine of 400,000 riyals ($106,666).
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Peter Nicholls