06/28/2013 01:30 EDT | Updated 08/28/2013 05:12 EDT

Petition demands tough sentence in cat strangling case

Thousands of people have signed an online petition calling for justice after a Kamloops man was arrested for allegedly strangling a cat to death.

Steven Seidel, 26, is facing numerous animal cruelty charges in connection with the death of his cat Oreo.

Kamloops resident Charlene Myers was outraged when she heard about the incident and launched an online petition calling for justice.

"I was of course disturbed when I heard what had happened to Oreo,” she said.

Myers has already gathered more than 16,000 signatures, and hopes the online petition will send a strong message to the court if the owner is found responsible.

“It tells me that people would like to see the courts address these cases appropriately with meaningful sentences,” Myers said.

“Hopefully we could try and demonstrate to the courts that people do have a desire to see some stringent penalties handed out for these cases.”

If convicted, Seidel faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, $70,000 in fines and a lifetime ban on owning animals.

Myers also campaigned in the case of Captain, a German shepherd that died after being beaten with a baseball bat.

Earlier this month, Brian Whitlock, 26, was sentenced to 60 days in jail, three years’ probation and a lifetime ban on owning pets.