Indonesian cat eater charged with animal abuse, says he ‘thought it was a rabbit’

Photo: Video screengrab
Photo: Video screengrab

Abah Grandong, the man who appeared in a disturbing viral video this week in which he was depicted eating what looked like the carcass of a freshly killed cat, has fulfilled his promise and turned himself in to the police in Jakarta yesterday afternoon.

Following his surrender, the Central Jakarta Police have charged Abah Grandong with animal abuse under the Criminal Code, which could see him face up to nine months in prison if convicted.

The suspect was not detained and police said he would undergo a mental health assessment today at the National Police Hospital in East Jakarta. He will likely be observed by doctors for 14 days.

More information has come to light about Abah Grandong’s motives for eating the cat following the police investigation. According to the police, Abah Grandong said he wasn’t aware that he was eating a cat, and he thought that he was eating an entirely different kind of fluffy animal (because somehow that would make it okay?).

“He said [he ate the cat] because he wasn’t aware. There was a cat, he thought it was a rabbit, then he immediately ate it [alive],” Central Jakarta Police’s Crime Unit Chief Tahan Marpaung told reporters yesterday, as quoted by Okezone.

Abah Grandong also told the police that during the incident, which occurred on July 19, he was trying to evict sellers from a traditional market in the Central Jakarta subdistrict of Kemayoran. He said the sellers ignored him, which triggered his outrage and led to him eating the cat.

Previously, Abah Grandong issued a statement of apology through the media yesterday, not for his actions, but for creating a public disturbance. He claimed that the cat eating attraction was part of a Banten ritual called debus.

Debus is a form of traditional black magic native to Banten that can supposedly make one invincible from physical harm with the help of genies. Its scientific value is obviously highly suspect; in 2017, seven students of the dark arts in Banten’s Tangerang Regency were hospitalized after their guru told them to rinse their hands with acid.

Animal abuse is generally not considered to be a serious offense in Indonesia. Under the Criminal Code, animal abuse that leads to the death of the animal is a crime only punishable by up to nine months’ imprisonment, as well as a minuscule IDR300 (US$0.02) fine. Animal rights activists have long called for a revision to the law, which was drawn up during the Dutch colonial era, to introduce harsher punishments to prevent animal cruelty.

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