A still from one of two videos shared on social media depicting young people in Chilliwack blowing smoke from a bong in the face of a kitten. The teens have been attacked on digital media and the BC SPCA is investigating.

BC SPCA investigate Chilliwack youth blowing smoke in kitten’s face in videos

Shared Snapchat videos lead to scathing criticism, even threats on social media

The BC SPCA is investigating after Snapchat videos emerged of Chilliwack teenagers blowing smoke from a bong in the face of a kitten.

In one video, with the word “stoney” at the bottom, a person is seen flicking a lighter as someone holds the kitten which is pawing at the flame. Someone inhales from a bong, then blows the smoke in the face of the kitten, which tries to get away but is held in place by a second individual.

In a second video, a young woman has what looks to be the same orange kitten in her shirt, its head and front legs emerging from her neckline. She, too, takes a deep inhale on a bong, then blows the smoke out engulfing the animal’s head.

Lorie Chortyk with the BC SPCA said they received the video and a complaint to the cruelty hotline at 10 a.m. on July 11, and they have opened a file for a formal cruelty investigation.

“It’s too early for us to have any information to share, but we are definitely following up,” she told The Progress. “The teens may have thought what they were doing was funny, but marijuana can be very dangerous for animals and if there is evidence that the individuals caused the kitten to be in distress they could definitely be facing animal cruelty charges.”

The videos were shared on social media after which the teens involved were excoriated by Facebook commenters.

Some comments reached the point of being aggressive and threatening, and some others have come to their defence.

“Put your damn pitch forks away!” one person wrote.

“Half of them spent all night crying and telling me they don’t know what to do because of this and they don’t want to live in Chilliwack anymore because of the hate,” said another.

Others said the teenagers knew what they were doing, and knew they were sharing it on social media so there needs to be consequences.

When asked about this angle to the case, Chortyk with the SPCA agreed that social media has changed the way stories like this emerge.

“I can certainly understand why it is upsetting to them, but they did have a choice in their actions towards the kitten and whether or not they wanted to share it on social media, whereas the kitten didn’t have a choice to be in that situation,” she said via email.

Eric Meyers is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia who teaches in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, and has a particular focus on youth and media.

Meyers said what happened in this case is an example of something he discusses in class, and shows how ever-evolving social media platforms change the way we communicate and share, often in very detrimental ways.

Meyers said the kitty/bong Snapchat videos are a classic example of what academics call “context collapse,” whereby social media interactions involve ever-shifting audiences.

“You send a Snapchat under the assumption that this was going to be a message that was going to be gone in a few moments and instead it is semi-permanent,” Meyers said. “It has life of its own beyond the intended audience and then people are allowed to take it and remix it taking it out of its original context, and then put it on Facebook for a completely unintended set of audiences.”

See www.theprogress.com next week and The Progress in print for more from Meyers and a deeper look at how people young and old are negotiating through the social media landscape.

• RELATED: VIDEO: Dog returned to owner after firefighters break window in hot weather at Cultus

• RELATED: SPCA seizes 16 dogs from property in B.C. Interior


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

Bungy jump naked in support of mental health programs

Registration open for annual fundraiser for BC Schizophrenia Society

Four weather extremes in just six months a cause for concern

Global warming contributing to the full gamut of conditions

Column: Snow reveals the character of a community

For every internet complainer there were two more willing to help a neighbour

Car fire destroys vehicle in Chemainus

Traffic rerouted for a short time at the Henry Road roundabout

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Most Read