An animal welfare charity has branded the behaviour of two women who threw a snake about in the street as “despicable”.
Yasmin Doherty, 19, and Frankie Kane, also 19, appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for sentencing over the incident at the city’s Marischal Court last July.
Doherty was ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, while Kane was handed 80 hours.
Snake Esmerelda, who was taken into the care of the Scottish SPCA afterwards, had to be destroyed.
Kane and Doherty shared videos of themselves mistreating the boa constrictor on social media.
Scottish SPCA chief inspector John Carle said: “Although we are pleased to hear this sentence has been passed down, we are disappointed a ban was not also imposed.
“Doherty and Kane caused cruel and unnecessary suffering to Esmerelda the snake.
“Treating any animal this way is despicable behaviour and the injuries caused ultimately led to the death of the poor snake.”
The footage captured in the early hours of July 4 showed Esmerelda “writhing in pain”.
Kane later confessed to causing the animal unnecessary suffering and throwing it, while Doherty admitted the same but also pleaded guilty to “spinning the snake around” and causing it to suffer injury.
Fiscal depute Rebecca Clark said: “The snake’s owner, who had it for three years, kept it in an enclosure in his bedroom and noticed it was missing – but thought it was elsewhere in the property.
“It was 3am when the two accused were outside the Marischal Court block of flats and found it. Both were under the influence of alcohol at the time, and Doherty began filming the snake on her mobile phone and posting it on Snapchat.
“Kane then picked it up and threw it several feet across the road.
“The snake appeared to be moving in a distressed state and Doherty said ‘it’s real’ before picking it up, spinning it around above her head and throwing it.”
Ms Clark said: “The chief inspector described the animal as writhing about in agony, coughing up blood and clearly dying. The decision was made to humanely destroy the snake, which had severe internal injuries.”
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Defending Kane, of Printfield Walk, solicitor Iain McGregor said: “She thought it was a fake snake, but quickly became aware it was real after picking it up and hearing it hiss at her. She should have placed it on the ground but she threw the snake through the air.”
Defence agent Tony Burgess said Doherty, of Marischal Court, had lost her job as a result of the incident and is now “struggling to find her way back into employment”.
He added the snake may have suffered some of its injuries when it escaped from its home and fell “from quite high up” in the multi-storey block.