An adorable cat facing arrest for allegedly scratching a child on the face became a hot topic on Hong Kong social media recently; prompting one lawmaker to launch a petition of support for the feline.
Marbles the cat, who resides at a pharmacy in Kwun Tong, became a wanted cat after a woman from Mainland China accused the pet of causing the 5 millimeter scratch on her son’s face while shopping at the store.
The woman reportedly rejected the owner’s offer to shoulder the medical cost for the treatment and wanted the cat arrested over concerns of possibly transmitting rabies.
The Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) had to step in and threatened to “arrest” Marbles following the incident.
However, a check on the pharmacy’s security camera supposedly revealed the woman’s claim to be false. The cat’s owner also insisted Marbles received the required vaccine regularly and should be rabies-free.
Pro-democratic lawmaker Roy Kwong immediately launched a petition on Facebook last Friday calling for support in urging the authorities not to arrest Marbles.
The petition quickly snowballed and more than 60,000 netizens signed within 24 hours.
As of Tuesday, the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) said the AFCD suddenly backtracked on its decision to arrest Marbles due to public pressure brought by the petition.
The agency eventually decided, after observation and upon learning that Marbles had been receiving vaccines regularly, the cat can stay at a veterinary clinic, instead of an AFCD quarantine center, during the 7-day quarantine period as required by the law.
“Marble will not be ‘arrested’ – it can go home after medical treatment,” said Edward Lau, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong who met with AFCD officials.