After a cat was crushed by a train departing from the Paris Montparnasse station, the Foundation for 30 million friends (Fondation 30 millions d’amis) announced that it would be suing French national rail services, SNCF, for “serious abuse and acts of cruelty resulting in the death of an animal” – an offence that has a maximum penalty of a €75,000 fine or five years in jail.
The Foundation announced its plans to file complaints against SNCF in a tweet published on Monday, referencing the tragic death of a family pet, Neko, who was crushed by a high-speed TGV train on January 2nd.
The cat had apparently been travelling with its owner, Georgia, and her 15-year-old daughter, Melaïna when it managed to escape from its cage prior to boarding. The animal then hid under the train headed from Paris to Bordeaux and was crushed as the TGV departed.
The mother and daughter reportedly spent at least 20 minutes attempting to negotiate with SNCF officials to delay the departure of the train in order to recover the cat, but their requests were refused.
As a result, the head of the foundation, Reha Hutin, said in a statement published on the organisation’s website that the animal was “knowingly crushed”.
Neko, le chat lâchement écrasé par la SNCF.
La Ligue Des Animaux condamne fermement ce geste et soutient la plainte de @30millionsdamis afin que justice soit rendue.
RIP Neko🙏 pic.twitter.com/nnTwW5rw5d
— La Ligue Des Animaux (@LigueDesAnimaux) January 23, 2023
“In addition to the abominable cruelty of the facts, the animal was in compliance with the rules, his owners had purchased a ticket for him to travel along with them”, said Hutin. “It was therefore an SNCF passenger who was knowingly crushed.”
According to reporting by Le Parisien, the complaint filed cited Article 521-1 of the French penal code, alleging that SNCF’s actions constituted serious abuse and acts of cruelty, which could lead to a fine of up to €75,000 and five years imprisonment if found responsible.
In response, French national rail services justified their decision to Le Parisien, arguing that “it is extremely dangerous to go down on the tracks because they are electrified”. SNCF also reiterated to the French daily that the incident occurred during the end of the Christmas-New Year holidays, “so there were a lot of people in the station, which meant that we could not stop the traffic so easily”.