An Israeli man was arrested in the northern city of Haifa on Tuesday after allegedly torturing a kitten while sitting at a café, and was released by a court shortly after despite a police request to keep him in custody.
The Haifa Police Department said that the suspect, Yoav Buchandler, 40, was arrested after he was seen by other customers at the café "brutally" torturing the kitten. Witnesses told the police they were shocked to see Buchandler's treatment of the kitten and tried to stop him.
They called the police, and after officers arrived at the scene, they questioned the suspect and arrested him for further questioning.
Other witnesses said they saw Buchandler throwing the cat against the ground, stretching its feet forcefully, pulling on its tail, and throwing him into the air. They also added that the suspect inserted the kitten’s head into his mouth.
Buchandler denied the accusations against him during his investigation. He was brought before Haifa Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, where the police requested the suspect’s remand be extended by five more days, charging him with animal abuse.
The police representative in the trial Sergeant Major Eddy Kantorvitch presented the presiding judge with classified information and said that “the suspect abused the cat. We are asking to extend his remand in order to complete our investigation.”
The suspect's lawyer, Avi Tagar, appealed for his release. “There’s no option to obstruct justice, in case the abuse really happened. The suspect says it didn’t happen. The suspect is working on his doctorate in philosophy and science and has classes to attend. He has a drinking problem, and should not be placed under arrest.”
Judge Tal Tadmor-Zamir explained in her ruling that “I looked into the suspect’s case and was convinced there’s reasonable doubt the suspect committed the deed attributed to him, though I wasn’t convinced the crime is enough to justify a remand.”
Tadmor-Zamir ordered Buchandler's release "on the condition he will appear if called upon during the investigation and by the demand of the police, alongside a NIS 2,500 bail.”
Tagar added: “The suspect denies the accusations against him. He says he held the kitten inside of his coat to protect it."