Bank worker Mary Bale does the unthinkable to a 4-year-old neighborhood cat named Lola

By Hana Choi
Updated August 27, 2010 02:43 PM
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Her face has been seen all over the world thanks to a short CCTV clip that went viral. A 45-year-old bank worker named Mary Bale was caught on camera tossing a neighborhood cat named Lola into a plastic trash bin, and then walking off. The act has outraged the feline’s owners, Stephanie and Darryl Mann of Coventry, England, and animal lovers everywhere – both are scratching their heads wondering why anyone would do such a thing.

Thankfully, 4-year-old Lola is fine after being discovered some 15 hours later. “We were going out to lunch on Sunday. We got into the car at first and luckily it was a warm day, so we put the windows down and started to hear the meowing,” Darryl tells PEOPLEPets.com. “We thought the cat was under the car, so we searched there and around the garden and finally found her in the bin.”

That night the couple uploaded their home security footage onto YouTube, hoping someone would help identify the gray-haired lady who so mercilessly chucked Lola into the trash. It didn’t take long before angry netizens all over the globe took up Lola’s cause, creating a Facebook group to help find the culprit. Later, after Bale was identified, a Facebook page called “Death to Mary Bale” was taken down.

Now living under police protection, Bale issued a formal apology on Wednesday: “I cannot explain why I did this, it is completely out of character and I certainly did not intend to cause any distress to Lola or her owners. It was a split second of misjudgment that has got completely out of control.” She is said to be in full cooperation with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and police officials, who’ve deemed she did not commit a criminal offense. On Friday, customers who frequent the bank where Bale works, called for her to be fired.

“We never expected any of this [attention],” says Darryl, 28, adding that he has “no idea” what would possess Bale to do this. “She can apologize, but it still doesn’t make it right, does it? It’s disgusting really. It’s still a living thing, isn’t she?”

Despite the outrage, Mann maintains a surprisingly sensible view as to how fellow pet owners can protect their feline friends. “I still keep a close eye on her,” he says. “I don’t think you can prevent such a thing, really. You can’t keep the cat inside – they’re independent animals and they like to do their own things.”

So how is Lola faring these days? Apart from some extra attention and special treats, it’s business as usual for the tabby, whom the Manns rescued about a year ago after noticing her loitering around their home. “She’s been fine, she sleeps a lot to be honest,” says Darryl, laughing. “She doesn’t seem to be bothered at all.”

Tell us: Can you keep your pets safe from random acts like this? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.