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Animal trials were common across Europe, until the 18th century.

Medieval authorities believed that crimes committed by animals were the work of the devil. If they were to go unpunished it would provide an opportunity for the devil to take over human affairs. Animal trials were serious, official proceedings, some of which lasted months and featured respected lawyers on both sides. In 1386, a pig was found guilty of killing a child. it was then dressed in male clothing and executed in the town square.

Bec thinks Fergus would be trialled for destruction of property. “He likes to destroy things like the kids’ pencils. I’ll find them chewed up in the middle of the floor.” Jeziel’s chickens would be in court for being too noisy. “At 5 AM just stop making noise!”

Jane’s dog would be in court for tormenting her husband. The dog would pull up all the reticulation in the backyard when her husband came home. Then yanked his clothes off the washing line and used it as a toilet. Her husband was so distraught he sold the dog to a kennel! “The lady he sold her too, absolutely loved her. So I think it was for the best.” Shona’s puppy would break into the neighbour’s house and steal food that was lying around. Then run home for another dinner. “We give her our plates to finish off the leftovers so our bad habits?

Janine’s cat always jumps on the kitchen counter while she is cooking and takes food out of the frying pan while it is on the stove. “She drives me nuts!” Kath’s German shepherd would be in court for whining. He gets really upset when people don’t hug him. “He cries he’s like why aren’t they hugging me? I’m like not everyone hugs buddy.”

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