Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Nine animals put on trial

cat-prison.jpg

Keeping the animal kingdom in check can include smart use of our judiciary...

Dog

The crime: Accomplice to murder.

The case: Delemont, Switzerland, 1906. During the murder trial of a man called Scherrer and his son, their dog’s complicity was called into question.

The verdict: All guilty. The dog was hanged.

Mosquitoes

The crime: Causing a public nuisance.

The case: Mayenne, France, c. 1200. Bugged by mosquitoes, the people of Mayenne demanded action be taken against the blood-suckers.

The verdict: Banished to their own plot of land.

Bear

The crime: Stealing honey.

The case: Macedonia, 2008. A beekeeper took the hive-raiding bear to court. It was defended by the state as it was deemed part of its game population.

The verdict: The state paid $3,500 in damages.

Cockerel

The crime: Aiding and abetting sorcery.

The case: Basel, Switzerland, 1471. Townsfolk worried about withcraft accused a rooster of being possessed by Satan.

The verdict: Guilty. It was burnt at the stake.

Leeches

The crime: Squatting.

The case: Lausanne, Switzerland, 1451. When a land-owner noticed an excessive number of leeches in a pond, the local bishop summoned them to court.

The verdict: The leeches were exorcised.

Elephant

The crime: Murder.

The case: Virginia, US, 1916. When circus elephant Mary was prodded by her inexperienced trainer, she responded by treading on his head.

The verdict: Mary was hanged using a crane.

Monkey

The crime: Assault.

The case: New York City, US, 1877. When organ-grinder Cassio Dillio’s monkey, Jimmy, bit a girl’s finger, both were hauled in front of a court.

The verdict: Released on grounds of being a monkey.

Rats

The crime: Criminal damage.

The case: Autun, France, 1522. More crop-attacking felons, the rats’ lawyer delayed the trial due to them not being able to travel to court because of cats.

The verdict: Judgement was made in the rats’ favour.

Weevils

The crime: Theft.

The case: St Julien, France, 1545. When weevils helped themselves to local grape vines, a trial debating their right to life and sustenance ensued.

The verdict: Unknown; court papers were eaten too.

Images: Rex

Related

osthero.png

Animal Osteopathy

Cat main pic.jpg

Animals accused of espionage

blobfish_2.jpg

The planet's unluckiest animals

Comments

More

Why all men should be more like Joe Biden

His mother always told him that “Nobody is better than you. You're not better than anybody, but nobody is better than you."

by Emily Badiozzaman
13 Jan 2017

New guide reveals the best places to travel for each month of the year

Don't book a 2017 holiday without reading this first

by Emily Badiozzaman
13 Jan 2017

Freddos will now cost 30p - is nothing sacred?

2017 shows its true colours

by Tom Fordy
13 Jan 2017

Scientists find lasers can be used to turn mice into killers

So that's something else to be scared of, then...

by Sam Diss
13 Jan 2017

Masturbation breaks at work are good for you, apparently

2017 is the year of wanking in the office

12 Jan 2017

Danny Wallace: "The traffic cone is a test of moral strength"

Another life lesson from our award-winning columnist

12 Jan 2017

Vegan woman denied Swiss visa for being too annoying

She hates cowbells, and the Milka lovers ain't having any of it

by Jamie Carson
12 Jan 2017

New Google Chrome extension changes pictures of Trump to kittens

Make America kittens again

by Jamie Carson
12 Jan 2017

Most insane moments from Trump's first 'presidential' press conference

How's that bunker coming along?

by Emily Badiozzaman
11 Jan 2017

Scientists have created a list of which animals fart and which do not

I know, right? Finally

by Sam Diss
11 Jan 2017