Skip to comments.Italian Army officer faces jail for saving pregnant cat
Posted on 12/24/2013 7:07:22 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin
Italian politicians are set to debate the case of an Italian army officer, who is facing at least one year in jail after being prosecuted for saving the life of a pregnant cat while on duty in Kosovo.
Lieutenant Barbara Balanzoni, a medical officer who served at the Nato base in Kosovo, is accused of "gross insubordination" after violating a written order not to "approach or be approached by wild, stray or unaccompanied animals".
Lt Balanzoni, who has since returned to her home in Tuscany, rushed to the rescue of the stray cat in May 2012 after army staff raised concern about noises it was making. She intervened after the staff failed to reach the army veterinary officer, who was in Italy at the time.
The cat, later called Agata, gave birth in an army pavillion but got into difficulties with the final, stillborn kitten.
Lt Balanzoni told the UK's Guardian newspaper: Far from disobeying orders, I was following military regulations, which state that, in the absence of a vet, the medical officer should intervene...If the cat had died, the entire area would have had to be disinfected. What is more, the surviving kittens could not have been fed. So they too would have died and created an even greater public health problem."
In the process of saving the cat, Lt Balanzoni was bitten - something she told Corriere della Sera was "just a scratch" - and had to receive a rabies jab.
The prosecution argues that rather than preventing a public health problem, she could have caused one.
The trial is set to begin at the Military Tribunal in Rome on February 7th, with the matter expected to be raised in parliament before then.
Lt Balanzoni has returned to her civilian job as an anaesthetist, but told Corriere della Sera that her dream is to work again for the army, "an insitution I love...like cats."
"I'm living a nightmare," she added.
"I hope justice takes its course and that action will be taken against those who brought me from the base to the court."
I remember my Father mentioning that their commanding officer once gave him a verbal reprimand for trading a German kid some candy for some eggs.
I guess rules are rules.
I can appreciate the concept of military discipline, because wars will be lost if your troops aren’t disciplined, but it seems a bit stiff-necked to end somebody’s career over it.
I wouldn’t want to be in a country where doing the right thing can cost a military career. I don’t think it’s good for morale to do that, not to mention that it is not good for the population at large either.
At most, it should have cost her a rank or points towards the next rank, imo.
I agree with you, the punishment is too severe.
The reason the army forbid trading for food was it could be poisoned and for some reason eggs were one of the easiest to sabotage. All he got was a verbal dressing down and that was all that was due for a first offense.
I read of at least 2 Soldiers who contracted rabies from adopting the feral dogs in Afghanistan, against standing orders.
Unfortunately, both were too far along for treatment by the time the docs figured out why they were sick. Both died.
Sounds like the Italians have a Frank Burns in their army.
What sort of cold blooded person would torpedo a career over Kittens?
I bet the clown who reported her really must be a real turd who was beat up a lot in school.
Someone concerned about introducing disease vectors into a mitary camp?
Cats kill more of the mouse disease vectors than they bring diseases into camp. Even the ancient Egyptians knew that.
Farmers have barn cats for the same reasons.
Not guilty, but seriously... I am sick of these white framed fashion glasses.
Looks brass to me. < ducking > ;0)
Don’t those dumb Italians have anything better to do with their damn time than waste money on stupid trials like this one and the similar persecution of that American girl?
They are turning themselves into the laughing stock of western Europe - a MOST unenviable role considering the competition.
May I ask where you read this...?
Is this not silly?
I think it happens in America too.
It should not have cost her her rank, or points. It would have been ignored by a leader with any ability. This never should have even been officially noticed. Stupidity like this should hide it’s ugly head, but instead has become the norm.
The policy shouldn’t make it necessary for animal lovers to hide their dogs or cats. The policy should allow for soldiers to have their pets screened by veterinarians, and vaccinated. Troops can pay for it out of their own checks. These zero-tolerance policies are a pathway to failure, and often remove some of our best and brightest for foolish reasons, or even lead to death in the cases you cite. Leadership positions are so often filled with fools and sycophants. It’s a shame, really.
Thanks, ferret face.
titanium looks like to me. I have ones like that, very sturdy.
meanwhile the cat gods smile with approval.
Cats also have excellent ears and a good sense for danger. Dogs aren’t the only ones capable of warning their human friends!
When your military is considering court martial for a doctor aiding an animal....your military is weak
Knowing the Ita justice system...surprised Amanda Knox isn’t being charged for this
Cats have been used for pest control on British warships back in the age of sail. Also the Queen of England had cats as Mousers killing vermin in the palace.
Same as Dogs, both will work for their room and board.
“This never should have even been officially noticed.”
Several times when people in the work world did astonishingly stupid things I found it effective to tell one of their confidants, “I’m not going to notice that but tell them it would be a good idea if it never happened again.” It always worked.
Able Seacat Simon of the frigate HMS Amethyst was severely wounded during the Yangtze River Incident of 1949, but continued to fight off a major rat infestation until the warship escaped six weeks later. For his actions he was awarded the Dickin Medal.
Simon developed an infection in his wounds shortly after arriving in Britain and subsequently died of his injuries. He received a military funeral which was attended by all of his crewmates and hundreds of mourners.
The worst part of overseas duty was seeing how badly the locals treated animals, esp. strays. Heartbreaking. I am ashamed that the Italian Army is just as bad.
According to an episode of I Spy, some communities use watch geese.
Agreed, Not Guilty!
At most, her CO should have chewed her butt off and given her extra duty.
Is that you, Frank Burns? Well, I’m kind of short, dumpy and nearsighted as well as love animals so I guess I’d be guilty too, I’m more of the Radar type.
Geese can be mean. NATO used them around some bases because they honk like crazy and will attack. Goose Bites can be painful.
Of course, when rations get boring, dinner is on guard duty.
We have geese in our pond. One music student of my wife was greatly afraid of the geese.
Would they have prosecuted if she had performed abortions on the cat?
Well, all it took was the simple ability to obey simple orders. For an officer, no less.
There’s little enough medical support for people in-theater, now you want to provide pet care services? It’s a frickin’ combat zone, not a city park. Get back to reality.
These animals aren’t their personal pets from back home. These aren’t domesticated animals anymore - they’re feral; you know, basically wild. Would you allow a feral raccoon to sit in your lap?
Zero-tolerance has a specific use here. Rabies is not a pleasant way to die. This person’s selfishness has now negatively impacted the unit’s ability to perform it’s mission.
Oh, yeah. A MEDICAL officer, no less. No excuses.
Daily reports. I was there when they happened.
Also ran in Army Times Stars & Stripes, IIRC
I swear I need to change my glasses-—that looks more like a puppy than a kitten.
Absolutely NOT Guilty....
When I was in Italy, I noticed thousands of stray cats, most looking healthy and happy. Reason? The Italians love cats, feed strays. It’s in their nature to nurture felines.
Charming, really, watching people descend on parks on Sundays with boxes of cat crunchies to pass out to their adoring purring public pets.