In Peru a woman lost her cat, her credibility and her freedom in the same week.
Sara Elvira Casas Maza is a cat lover and activist defending animal rights, rescuing cats from the street. She lives in a district of the Lima Province in Peru called Breña, where one day she realized her Siamese cat Piggy was gone. After looking for him, she found him in her neighbor’s house, but when she asked for her cat, the neighbor refused to give it back.
Hoping it would make a difference, she went to the Police Station to report the theft, but she was not only unsuccessful in her search for justice, she ended up locked up in jail for three months.
The police refused to record her complaint claiming they had more important things to do than care for a cat. When two female non-commissioned officers started making fun of Sara’s complaint, she decided to record them with her cellphone and everything escalated when they tried to take her phone away. She got charged with violence and assault and in two days she got imprisoned in the penitentiary Virgen de Fátima de Chorrillos.
She never got her phone back and the district attorney based the request for jail claiming she was very dangerous because of her long nails. While she was locked up she got sick because she is a vegetarian and the authorities refused to give her a special diet. All the meat she got she gave to the cats living inside the jail.
Last Monday she was released, although there is still a process against her that she’ll have to face. She is thinking of pressing charges against the police officers. There are a lot of inconsistencies in her case mainly because the punishment is out of proportion with the offense committed.
The police should be in service for the community, not the other way around. Animal rights are far from mattering in Peru and Casas Maza says she won’t stop fighting for them. What we haven’t been able to find out is if she ever got her cat back. But we hope she did.