An animal rights group is suing French national rail operator SNCF for allowing a train to depart despite staff knowing a pet cat was on track.
The cat was then run over and died.
The incident, which occurred at Montparnasse station in Paris earlier this month left the pet’s owners in shock.
“It’s hard to get over it,” the cat’s owner, Georgia, told 30 Million Friends (30 Million Friends), the foundation suing the train operator.
How could a domestic cat be run over by a Parisian train?
Georgia was traveling with her 15-year-old daughter Melaïna when their cat Neko escaped from her carrier bag. Neko then took refuge under the TGV form waiting at the station.
His owners pleaded with officers to delay the train’s departure, but were reportedly told ‘it’s not their problem, he’s just a cat and we should have kept him on a leash’.
Pets are authorized to accompany their owners on SNCF trains either in a carrier or on a leash, provided that other travelers do not object. With the exception of guide dogs, pets must have train tickets, which cost €7.
Another member of staff tried to help the owners, but after 20 minutes of negotiations and attempts to get the cat to safety, the form reportedly left the station, killing Neko who was still on the tracks.
“I saw Neko running under the train and…then we saw him cut in half. It was so violent,” Melaïna told 30 Million Friends.
The owners would have been offered a free ticket in Bordeaux in compensation for their dead animal.
What does the SNCF say about the incident?
Contacted by 30 Million Friends, the SNCF points out the dangers of a live descent form tracks, which are electrified.
The train operator said it “regrets this sad incident” but added that “it is strictly forbidden to get off the tracks, which would endanger the lives of both passengers or our agents”.
The animal rights The group files a complaint against the SNCF for “serious abuse and acts of cruelty resulting in the death of an animal”, punishable by a penalty ranging from a fine of €75,000 to a prison term of up to at five years old.
SNCF has been contacted for further comments.