A domestic cat was killed after a train ran over him in France, leaving his owners devastated. This week, animal rights group 30 Million Friends filed a complaint against national railway operator SNCF over the cat’s death at the Montparnasse station on January 2.
Georgia and her 15-year-old daughter Melaïna were getting ready to leave for Bordeaux when their cat Neko suddenly escaped from his transport bag. He hid on the train track under a high-speed TGV train. Panicked, the mother and daughter ask SNCF staff to help them and delay the train to save their cat.
“They tell us that it’s not their problem, that he’s just a cat and that we should have kept him on a leash,” Melaïna told 30 Million Friends. “I was shocked by so much indifference,” Georgia said. “It paralyzed me. My daughter was crying. She left to look for other agents to rescue him.”
Melaïna managed to find another SNCF staff member who offered to help. “He accompanied me on the platform,” she said. She calls Neko, but the cat doesn’t appear. After 20 minutes of trying, the train starts to leave.
“I saw Neko run under the train and then nothing,” Melaïna said. “Then we see him cut in half. It was so violent.”
SNCF has since said it regretted the “tragic” incident but that going onto the tracks was forbidden due to the risk of electrocution. 30 Million Friends filed a complaint for “serious abuse and acts of cruelty resulting in the death of an animal”, which could lead to a fine of up to 75,000 euros and a five-year jail sentence if the case goes to court.
Chat écrasé par un TGV, la Fondation #30millionsdamis a déposé plainte vs la SNCF : « Si ce dossier va en Correctionnelle on est sur une peine alourdie de 5 ans de prison & 75.000€ d'amende » – Me X. Bacquet chez @Bruce_Toussaint @LeLiveToussaint @BFMTV pic.twitter.com/2D0oOdFXlk— Fondation 30 Millions d'Amis (@30millionsdamis) January 24, 2023
“The animal is a living being with sensitivity. You can’t do just anything to a living being. But here, agents deliberately made the decision to start a train when the owner informed them of the presence of their cat on the tracks” Xavier Bacquet, lawyer for the 30 Million Friends, said.
The conscious decision to let the train leave, knowing it could result in the death of an animal, is “not an incident, but an act of cruelty,” he added.
France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he was shocked by how SNCF managed the “terrible affair”.
“Faced with violence against animals, I decided to mobilize very significant resources: 4,000 police officers and gendarmes throughout France, responsible for collecting complaints and fighting against this phenomenon (of violence against animals),” he said on Friday.
Georgia and Melaïna are still mourning the loss of their cat Neko, who they said was “such a nice animal” who “followed us everywhere.”
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