An elderly woman has risked the wrath of animal lovers around the world after being pictured driving around with a cat on a leash tied to the bonnet of her car.
Police are trying to hunt down female driver and male passenger, who were seen crusing in a Buick sports utility vehicle through New Philadelphia with the feline up front. Local resident Polly Vandall captured the photos and uploaded them to Facebook.
“There I was, sitting at a red light, in the middle of town. I look up and see….. Cat. On a leash. Tied to the hood of a car. Driving through town. #thisjusthappened,” Vandall said in Facebook post that was accompanied by three photos of the incident.
“I captured a few seconds of her life. I have no idea what happened right before or right after this moment,” she added.
Hundreds of angry comments have been posted since the story was picked up by news outlets worldwide. Tiffany West said: “That is HORRIFYING -ANIMAL ABUSE!!!! That poor cat is probably terrified.”
“I hope they get pulled over for abuse!!” said another, while one went as far to take matters into her own hands: “I’m seriously livid and working on finding out who these people are.”
Some observers were avoiding the pitchforks: “Ok everyone is freaking the cat has a harness on and leash. It looks like it jumped out the passenger window not smart but don’t think it was malicious.”
There were, of course, a few who wanted to make light of the situation. “Instead of the Batmobile it’s the Catmobile,” one person commented. “What the…did she think people would think she was driving a Jaguar???” said another.
Police chief Michael Goodwin admitted he has never seen an animal tied to a car in all 25 years of service. He explained one eyewitness saw the couple stop for gas and walk the car around “like it was a dog”.
The chief said he had received ‘numerous’ calls from residents: “There was a lot of outrage that wanted these people hunted down, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and should never own a pet. It was pretty ugly on that end.”
Various theories exist as to why the cat found itself on the hood of a moving car, ranging from dementia and a dark sense of humour to a homemade alternative to the Jaguar badge and a simple case of the cat exiting the cabin of its own accord.
Police are worried about the cat’s safety and that it could prove a dangerous distraction for bemused motorists who see the furry quadruped riding on the front of the car.