The Stettler RCMP is investigating allegations of cat cruelty in Big Valley, following a TikTok video that went viral.
Concerned calls from as far as Florida came into Alberta police about an online video that shows a man and woman rescuing a caged, wet cat in the village 100 km south of Red Deer.
The couple in the video, posted by Wyatt Chalifoux, accuse a man of trying to drown the cat. They allege they had come across the trapped feline as it was placed in a large bucket of water by another man.
As the howling sounds of a distressed cat are heard, a woman in the video confronts a bearded man, and asks how could he do this to a living creature? The man responds that cats come into his yard, antagonizing his dog.
The rescued feline is now reported to be safe and recovering.
But residents of the community of 346 people say several other cats have gone missing over the last year.
On Thursday, Corp. Troy Savinkoff, a spokesperson for Alberta RCMP K. Division, said officers are investigating allegations of animal cruelty stemming from the video.
But he explained this isn’t a cut-and-dry matter. Although the emotion-charged exchange on TikTok is alarming for viewers, from a criminality perspective, it doesn’t show the animal being submerged, so additional investigation is needed to determine whether cruelty charges can be laid, Savinkoff added.
If animal cruelty is proven in court, penalties can include fines of up to $5,000 or a jail sentence of up to two years.
Most municipalities have legal ways of handling feral cats or domestic pets that are on the loose, which differ depending on the community. Savinkoff said the best way of dealing with nuisance animals is by calling local bylaw officers.