Even if you haven’t heard the name Hasbulla Magomedov, chances are you’ve seen images of the Russian’s cherubic face, which exists in the pantheon of internet memes with the likes of Cash Me Outside Girl, Kermit and Condescending Wonka.
Magomedov is not a child, despite his 3’4″ stature and toddler-like appearance. He’s an adult man who suffers from a form of dwarfism, although he’s never publicly spoken about his condition in detail.
Normally known simply by the mononym Hasbulla, beyond his status as a meme the diminutive Russian is mostly known for hawking garbage (cryptocurrency, self-branded merchandise, supplements) and for his nebulous association with mixed martial arts, existing as a sort of barnacle on the UFC where he appears at weigh-ins, uploads video of himself providing commentary and is carried around as a kind of good luck totem by Russian fighters.
Now Hasbulla is famous for something else — horrifically abusing his cat.
In a new video — which Habsulla was apparently proud of and voluntarily shared publicly — the 20-year-old speaks in his native Russian while pulling violently on his cat’s ear. The feline — which is terrified of Hasbulla and flinches when he approaches — escapes to the safety of a shoe box, but his tiny tormentor follows, smacking the poor cat on its body and head while barking in the gutteral nonsense that passes for a language in his gas station of a country:
Hasbulla boasts six million followers on Instagram, 1.5 million on Twitter, and his videos on TikTok have amassed an astounding 10.3 billion views.
The video is disturbing enough on its own, though I can’t help but wonder if Hasbulla is willing to share this kind of behavior, what’s going on when the cameras are off?
And if people are willing to physically abuse their cats to feed the content beast and keep their viewers “entertained,” how will they lower the bar in the future when their clicks slow down and they feel they need to do something even more shocking to reignite interest?
Although the story is more about her gradual acceptance that her boyfriend was inconsiderate — and didn’t put as much effort as she did into their relationship — Business Insider’s Anne Jarret writes about how his carelessness with her cat led her to end a two-year relationship.
Jarret describes how her boyfriend would do things like leave wet towels on her side of the bed, leave dishes around their home and show disregard for her sleep schedule when he knew she had to rise at 6 a.m. every morning as a teacher, but the final straw was his cavalier attitude toward losing her 15-year-old cat, who was on her last legs and needed meds to survive:
“Where’s the cat?” I asked my boyfriend as I walked into the kitchen. The sun had set, and it was time for us to give her a steroid to ease her pain.
“I don’t know,” he said with a shrug. We searched, but we couldn’t find her anywhere. Then I saw the patio door was wide open.
Guerrilla, the dying 15-year-old cat, loved spending time outside on a leash and would beg us to take her exploring.
“I guess when I took the dogs out earlier I forgot to close the door,” he said. “I’m sorry.” My heart broke.
Unfortunately, Jarret never found her cat and didn’t get closure on her fate, which is a horrible thing for anyone who loves their feline, especially after spending 15 years together.
Prosecutors use 2019 federal statute to charge teen with cat abuse
A 17-year-old from Maine has been charged with a felony under 2019’s Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act after a video surfaced on Facebook showing him brutalizing a kitten.
The teenager is accused of picking up a stray cat by his tail and repeatedly slamming him into the ground on Nov. 4. The kitten, named Harlow by the local Humane Society staff, will “likely” lose an eye as a result of the head trauma the teenager inflicted, Humane Society shelter director Katie Lisnik told the Sun-Journal.
Despite that, Harlow doesn’t hate people and seems to crave affection.
“He just loves to cuddle,” Lisnik said. “He just wants to be on you.”
This story is heartbreaking and hard to even think about. How could anyone do such a thing to an innocent animal, much less a kitten less than a year old? And the fact that Harlow is so loving and trusting despite all he endured and suffered just underscored how innocent cats are, as animals who have the intelligence and emotional capacity of three- or four-year-old children.
Usually we don’t note stories like this on PITB because animal abuse is a difficult topic, it’s upsetting and stories like this are so numerous that reading all of them can even make misanthropes out of people who believe the best of humanity. But we’ve written quite a bit about law enforcement taking animal abuse seriously, and the need for animal cruelty laws with more teeth, and this is ultimately a hopeful case because the prosecutors are taking it seriously enough to invoke the bi-partisan PACT Act.
On the other hand, some laws clearly need to be amended. The suspect hasn’t been named in media reports and his identity will likely remained sealed because of youthful offender laws, which allow minors convicted of crimes to strike convictions from their permanent records before they turn 18 if they meet certain conditions set by the court. Usually they’re straightforward: Stay out of trouble, attend psychological counseling, check in regularly with a probation officer and complete community service.
That’s fine for offenses involving drugs, theft and other relatively minor stuff. But when crimes are associated with high recidivism and/or are strong indicators of future violent crime — as animal abuse has proven to be — convicts shouldn’t be allowed to apply for youthful offender status. This kid shouldn’t be allowed to own pets or interact with animals, and this kind of crime shouldn’t be stricken from his record because if, for example, he attacks a woman he’s dating when he’s 19, it shows a pattern of violent behavior that strongly correlates to escalating violence.
At a time when school shootings are common and people commit senseless crimes like pushing strangers off subway platforms into the paths of oncoming trains, law enforcement could use all the help and information it can get in identifying people with violent histories before they do more harm.
A North Carolina woman suffered a roller coaster of emotions after she lost her cat, then found out the local SPCA had taken her cat in, only for the shelter’s staff to tell her a family had already adopted the cute tuxedo.
Chevelle Griffin of Asheville says her cat, Sally, went missing on Oct. 18. She didn’t know what happened until a few days later when she saw a Facebook post indicating a neighbor had taken Sally to the local SPCA. Sally was wearing a flea collar, but not an ID collar and was not microchipped.
Griffin blamed herself.
“That was my fault,” Griffin said. “That was my mistake. I should have had her chipped, but I didn’t and she’s mine and I want her back.”
She wasn’t happy when staff at the shelter “very bluntly” told her Sally had already been adopted out.
Lisa Johns, chief operating officer for the local SPCA, told local ABC affiliate WLOS that the shelter takes in as many as 35 cats a day and holds new animals for 72 hours. After that, if they have no health issues they’re put up for adoption.
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. After Griffin lobbied the SPCA and WLOS began looking into the incident, SPCA staff contacted the family that had adopted Sally and asked if they would be willing to return her. They agreed, and Griffin said she’s relieved and has learned from the experience.
“I’ve kicked myself so much,” Griffin said. “If I’ve learned anything from this, get your pets chipped.”
It’s a tough balance for shelter operators dealing with overcrowding and the need to constantly free up spaces for new strays, but should the hold period be extended beyond 72 hours?
Zouma, a French national, faced consequences that would be unheard of in the US as a result of the abuse: He lost all his sponsorship contracts, was fined the maximum amount by his club team (£250,000, equal to about $338,00 at the time, a full one fifth of his salary), paid court fines of £9,000, is prohibited from owning pets for at least five years, and was ordered to complete 140 hours of community service. West Ham donated Zouma’s fined salary to animal charities in the UK.
He was persona non grata in the UK football world, subject to hearty boos and chants from crowds any time he touched the ball, and his cats were taken from him and placed in the care of the RSPCA. In addition, he was not selected for the French national team, meaning he won’t compete in the World Cup.
Following his sentencing this week in his first public comments about the controversy — aside from a terse apology in the form of a written statement issued months ago — Zouma said he acknowledges the video was “very tough for people to watch” and admitted he’d “done something very bad.”
Zouma’s brother Yoan was also convicted of animal abuse, receiving court fines and 140 hours of community service for participating in the abuse and filming it in front of his brother’s young son. Our readers might recall the brothers were turned in by a woman who was courted by the younger Zouma and was disgusted when she saw the video.
The woman had initially agreed to meet Yoan Zouma for an informal date, but told him to keep his distance after she saw the abuse clip, then reported the brothers to authorities.
“I don’t think hitting a cat like that is OK – don’t bother coming today,” she wrote in a message to Yoan Zouma at the time. “I do not want to associate with people who find that funny, in front of a child as well.”
Although what Zouma did was terrible, it feels like justice was served and the UK did right by the cats by taking the abuse seriously, both criminally and professionally. Instead of “canceling” Zouma, as would have likely been the response here in the US, the authorities in government and the Premier League made sure the footballer understood the gravity of his actions and took responsibility for them. Hopefully it served as an example to others who would think of harming their pets.
When Margaret Oliva’s husband died eight years ago, her cat Stella helped her through her grieving.
“She was my sanity, you know?” the Long Island woman said.
Oliva’s beloved tortoiseshell went outside on Sept. 1 and didn’t come back that night. Oliva enlisted the help of relatives to find Stella but wasn’t able to locate her until she heard “whimpering cries” on her Ring system’s audio.
Stella had collapsed near a bush on the front lawn. Oliva rushed her badly injured cat to an emergency veterinarian, where the fading feline fought for her life but succumbed hours later. The vet told the shocked Hicksville woman that someone had shot Stella twice, likely with a pellet gun.
“To have her taken like this…No, I can’t accept that,” Oliva told a local TV news station.
Now the SPCA is offering a $6,000 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of Stella’s killer. Matt Roper, a detective with the Nassau County SPCA’s law enforcement division, said he believes Stella was shot by someone in the immediate neighborhood.
Studies have shown that house cats who are allowed to wander outside during the day rarely go far. In a paper published in Scientific Reports earlier this year, a team of scientists from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences tracked 100 indoor/outdoor cats by equipping them with GPS collars. The data showed cats spend almost 80 percent of their time within 50 meters — or about 164 feet — of their homes, and a handful of statistical outliers who traveled a longer distance didn’t exceed more than a quarter mile.
The SPCA’s Roper said Stella suffered one projectile to her chest and one to a leg. Her killer is likely nearby and almost certainly knows about the anguish caused to Oliva. If caught, the killer could face a felony charge.
“This could be a high powered pellet gun,” Roper said. “This could be something that could be shot a couple of houses length, a couple of yards in length.”
Young Abraham was left with a pellet lodged in his spine after he was shot in October of 2021 in eastern Long Island.
Gracie was paralyzed when she was shot twice with a pellet gun in the summer of 2021.
Oliva’s home in Hicksville is about 10 miles from Glen Cove, where a cat named Gracie was shot and left paralyzed last summer when one pellet hit her stomach and another hit her spine. Poor Gracie was in a neighbor’s yard, dragging herself toward her home while her back legs hung limp. A woman found Gracie after hearing her crying out in pain, Newsday reported.
“What happens is a woman takes her kids for a walk,” said detective Lt. John Nagle of the Glen Cove Police Department. “When she returns to the house she hears an animal crying and goes to investigate. She finds this cat, just beyond the neighbor’s chain link fence, and the animal is crying and it can’t walk. Another neighbor, who happens to be a vet, comes over. She gets a cat cage, places it in the yard — and the cat immediately crawls over to it … She takes the cat to her vet, where she works, thinking maybe it’s been hit by a car. That’s when she finds out it’s not damage from a car, but that there’s two bullets.”
There’s a $5,000 reward for Gracie’s shooter.
In October of 2021, a young cat the rescuers named Abraham was shot with a pellet gun in Suffolk County on eastern Long Island. Like Gracie, Abraham was struck in his spine. The SPCA of Suffolk County, which called Abraham’s shooting “a horrific act of animal cruelty,” is offering a $4,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his shooter.
A Redditor says her beloved cat, Midnight, is missing after her girlfriend stole the innocent kitty and dropped her off on a random road on Friday as a revenge tactic for an argument the couple had the night before.
Midnight is still missing. Midnight’s owner, using a burner account called Throwaway29374639, updated concerned Redditors and said she was putting up flyers, setting up humane traps and looking in the area where her girlfriend claims she abandoned the cat as she was en route to work.
For her part, the Redditor says her girlfriend admitted what she did and “said she just had a moment of rage, but I just can’t even look at her right now. I kicked her out of my apartment and have been crying in my room for the last few hours. I feel so lost without my cat.”
In the thread, which attracted more than 1,400 comments and tens of thousands of views, many people advised her to report her (now presumably ex) girlfriend to the police, as well as to change the locks to her home and any passwords the two might have shared on various accounts.
We’ve talked before about the strange phenomenon of people who take their anger out on the pets of their partners or ex-partners. Studies have found that men are more likely to do so, and they’re much more likely to target cats than dogs because they see cats as an extension of femininity. In cases where domestic abuse is expanded to include a dog or a cat, the abusers view the pets as proxies for their victims.
Regardless, studies show that the pets of domestic abuse victims are likely to suffer at the hands of their owners’ abusers, and statistics show women who check into domestic violence shelters report their pets were also abused in the majority of cases. Some studies found more than 80 percent of pets who belong to domestic violence victims also become victims.
Women who worry about what will happen to their pets are less likely to leave their abusers and seek temporarily relief at shelters. As a result, some shelters also make arrangements for the pets of abuse victims, giving them safe shelter and taking another worry off the minds of their caretakers.