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

Burns Lake resident close to reaching her blood donation goal

The 73-year-old just needs to donate four more pints

Wildfire season in Burns Lake a “rollercoaster of emotions”

Burns Lake residents share their experiences

Chamber says good bye to Bill Miller

The Burns Lake & District Chamber of Commerce held its monthly meeting… Continue reading

Northern B.C. needs faster response to wildfires: regional district chair

Bill Miller shares takeaways from Burns Lake’s wildfire season

Burns Lake area wildfires contained, but still burning

Smouldering ground fires and smoke still expected in the coming weeks

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Most Read