A viral video of a man microwaving his cat has incited outrage and a media manhunt for the men responsible.
The minute-long video shows a man, allegedly named Hassan Hammoud, putting his cat in a microwave. After a few seconds, the panicked cat is taken out before being forced back in despite its efforts to claw its way out. The microwave is then turned on for eight seconds, where the cat is heard howling before being released, Al Jazeera reports.
Lebanese blogger, Joey Ayoub of Hummus For Thought, identified the two people involved as Mohammad Jallad and Hassan Hammoud. Their respective Facebook profiles say they live in Beirut, Lebanon. The original video was posted on Jallad’s Facebook page but was later removed for violating user policies, 7Days reports.
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“If you’re reading this, we’re asking you to hand over the cat to NGOs such as Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (BETA) (70-248765) and Animals Lebanon (01-751678). Both are very easy to contact and will have someone collect the cat as soon as possible. There isn’t, can’t possible be, any justifications for what you did. It is sick, horrific and just plain wrong,” Ayoub wrote on his blog.
Both animal rights organizations have made separate pleas on their social media sites, asking for Hammoud to hand over his cat, saying it will be “adopted into a home that can give her the care she needs.”
The outrage surrounding the disturbing video sparked Hammoud to post a video apology for the incident. Speaking in Arabic and holding the cat in question, he is quoted as saying, "To everyone who said I am a criminal ... this is my cat and I love her so much. And as you see, she is still alive. And she has a better life than me, she eats ground meat ... as you all see, she loves me so much." He later adds, "Jallad didn't have anything to do with it ... he was filming me and I am the criminal and I apologize for everything."
The video, which was shared by some Lebanese news outlets, have shed light on the lax animal abuse laws in the country. According to Animals Lebanon, the maximum penalty for harming animals is less than $15 and that law has not been enforced in the past twenty years. But the group has finalized a draft for a new animal welfare law that will fine perpetrators at least $1,992, according to Michelle Matta, the Animals Lebanon office manager.
“If he repeats the same violation, he will be handed a prison-sentence ranging from three months to two years,” she told The Daily Star.
While some commenters sympasize for the cat, others say the video demonstrates a dark side of human curiosity.
“I watched the video and it doesn't seem like the guy was actually trying to seriously harm the cat. He just seems like an a--hole who wants to put an animal in distress to see it's reaction,” one Redditor writes.
“He barely put the cat in for 10 seconds, as soon as he saw the cat was in pain he took him out. Not saying what he did was right but haven't we all burned up a few dozen ants with magnifying glass? Humans are curious creatures and I feel curiosity got the better of him,” another adds.