A Kamloops man accused of animal cruelty has yet to have his day in court but that hasn't stopped nearly 16,000 people worldwide from demanding "justice for Oreo."
B.C. media reported this week that Crown counsel approved charges against 28-year-old Steven Seidel of Kamloops for allegedly strangling his cat and dumping its body in a dumpster.
On March 14, he was charged with one count of causing unnecessary pain, suffering, or injury to an animal under the Criminal Code and two counts of causing an animal to continue to be in distress under the provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
On Wednesday, a message posted by Jayne Cvetanoski on Let's Turn Facebook Orange for Animal Cruelty Awareness, which made it onto causes.com, urged animal lovers to "sign and share this petition to Crown counsel and the judge to get justice for Oreo."
Along with the petition is a photo of a black and white cat with the disclaimer: "Please note: the picture of the Cat featured is NOT of Oreo."
The petition lists the charges and the possible punishment Seidel faces.
If convicted, he faces up to 18 months in jail and/or a $10,000 fine on the federal charge or up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $75,000 on the provincial charge.
The date of his next court appearance was not immediately available.
The petition also quotes B.C. SPCA Const. Kent Kokoska speaking to the severity of the crime.
"Clearly, when you have a family pet that meets its demise at the hands of its caretaker, its last minutes knowing fear, that would be a horrific way to die," he is quoted as saying. "Incidents, all ranges of neglect and abuse, these things happen. But, to die literally at the hands of your caregiver - it is very rare."
Calls to Kokoska for confirmation of the quote were not immediately returned.
Nearly 16,000 people had signed by press time from all over the world - Romania, France, the U.K. and the U.S. are among the countries represented.
More than 200 messages have been posted along with the signatures denouncing Seidel's alleged actions.
"Animal cruelty is related to violence against people," said poster Liz Craik of New Westminster. "The courts need to recognize this and they need to start taking animal cruelty cases seriously! Life is life and this was murder. If someone can do this to an animal, they can most certainly do this to a person."