Cat apprehended in Brazil. (Photo: Getty)
On January 4th, 2013, “The Criminal Trial and Punishment of Animals: A Case Study in Shame and Necessity” by Justin Smith sparked the interest of Academia.edu users, receiving nearly 3 times as many views as any other paper that day. The seemingly odd topic was actually quite relevant to international news; the BBC had just released a story about a “criminal cat” in Brazil.
Apprehended for transporting drill bits, files, a mobile phone, charger, and earphones, Brazilian authorities detained a white cat suspected as an accessory in a prison jail-break.
Perhaps intrigued by the statement of prison spokesperson, Estado de S. Paulo, “It’s tough to find out who’s responsible for the action as the cat doesn’t speak,” Academia users delved into the history of animals being tried and punished as criminals.
Will Smith’s review of criminal animals help Brazilian authorities? That’s for time to tell, but either way it is exciting to see that the public is referring to research on Academia.edu to make sense of the wild happenings in the world.