More than 70,000 animal lovers reportedly rallied behind Marble, a cat who was accused of scratching a boy at a pharmacy in Hong Kong, and helped save her from forced quarantine.
The incident took place last Friday when Marble, also known as “Porsche”, and dubbed as the “store manager” by customers and employees of the pharmacy at On Tat Estate in Kwun Tong, was accused of injuring a 5-year-old customer.
The boy received a 5 millimeter (0.5 centimeter) scratch behind his ear, according to South China Morning Post.
The mother returned to the pharmacy 30 minutes later after the attack to raise a complaint. She also called in the authorities and paramedics to attend to the incident. However, staff of the pharmacy quickly jumped in to defend Marble from the accusation.
“We didn’t see [Marble] scratching the woman’s son when she was buying medicine,” one of the storekeepers, Karen Chan Hoi-man, said.
“Police told us that CCTV footage showed [Marble] didn’t harm anyone,” Silver Chan Ka-yan, another storekeeper of the pharmacy, said.
The mother came back to the pharmacy on Saturday along with an officer from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) to take Marble away. However, the cat was not in the store at the time so the officer left a note saying the department would return on Monday to deal with the issue.
Fearing that they may never see Marble again from the hands of the AFCD, the owner decided to put the cat in the care of a private veterinary clinic.
After hearing the story, Democratic Party lawmaker, Roy Kwong Chun-yu, launched an online petition on Monday to help save Marble from being put under forced quarantine. The petition managed to gather around 68,000 signatures in just 24 hours after it was first posted.
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, Marble lost his appetite recently and hasn’t been feeling very well since Saturday — probably due to the stress of the whole incident.
Because of this, the department allowed the owner to keep the cat quarantined in the private vet clinic. But in exchange, they will have to keep in close contact with the clinic to monitor the status of Marble, whom the AFCD said should be under rabies observation as per the Cap 421 Rabies Ordinance.