Animal Law, Crime, Pets

Piercing Your Cat Will Not Make You Better at Being a Goth

Something we don’t really get a chance to write about that often on Above the Law is the rise of the Goth subculture in America — and that’s probably because no one cares about it. Just like how no one cared about most Goth kids when they were growing up, which led them to believe that dressing up like sad, neoclassical clowns was a good idea.

You know what, this is America, and if you want to paint your face like an inept contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race and wear chains connecting your ears to your nose, then by all means, go right ahead. I have absolutely no problem with that. If you want to look like the latest incarnation of Boy George, and thereby make your family embarrassed to be around you, then go for it.

But really, leave your pets out of it, okay? Your kittens don’t have daddy issues like you do…

Holly Crawford, of Sweet Valley, Pennsylvania, a dog groomer by trade, was arrested in 2008 after she attempted to sell a Goth kitten to a PETA investigator for $100 over eBay.

Why would you do this?

Her Goth kittens were as bedazzled as her own face:

Metal protruded from the kittens’ small bodies, pierced through their ears and necks, and at least one of these kittens also had an elastic band tied around its tail, an attempt at docking, which is a procedure to stem the blood flow so that the tail eventually falls off.

Crawford admitted to piercing the kittens without using any anesthetic beforehand. As the owner of two cats, that really makes me want to punch this woman in the face. Seriously. I really love animals, and this makes me want to cry a little bit because it’s just so disgusting.

Thankfully, in April of last year, Crawford was found guilty of animal cruelty, and then sentenced to six months of house arrest, followed by probation. But Crawford decided that she didn’t want to spend six months at home.

I guess she was afraid that her CD player would break and she wouldn’t be able to listen to The Cure on repeat all day, every day. Or maybe she just didn’t have enough Manic Panic hair dye to survive for that long all on her own.

Either way, like any rational person of normal intelligence, Crawford appealed her sentence.

That’s right, Crawford appealed because Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty statutes are “too vague.” Crawford likened declawing a cat under anesthesia to giving her kittens their own nipple rings. Crawford argued that she just didn’t know whether giving a kitten a Prince Albert fell under the category of an act that would “maim, mutilate, torture, or disfigure” the precious, little ball of fur.

Three judges from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, however, decided that Crawford must have pierced herself a few times too many, noting in a 19-page opinion written by Judge Kate Ford Elliot that:

Appellant’s claims center on her premise that a person of normal intelligence would not know whether piercing a kitten’s ears or banding its tail is maiming, mutilating, torturing or disfiguring an animal. We disagree. … Much of the law against animal cruelty can be summed up in the phrase ‘common sense’ and such is the case herein.

And so, as logic would properly dictate (at least for those of you whose faces don’t jingle when you walk), you cannot pierce your cat in Pennsylvania. Or in any other state, for that matter, but don’t get me started.

Piercing Kittens for ‘Goth’ Look Is Animal Cruelty, Pa. Appeals Court Says [ABA Journal]
Piercing Cats Is Cruelty, Judges Rule [New York Times]

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