A teenager who threw a snake across a road claimed she only realised it was real when it hissed at her.
Frankie Kane and Yasmin Doherty shared sick videos of themselves mistreating the boa constrictor, named Esmerelda, on social media platform Snapchat.
Kane chucked the animal 10ft across a street in Aberdeen and Doherty swung the escaped pet above her head.
The disturbing footage they captured in the early hours of July 4 showed Esmerelda “writhing in pain” and sparked widespread outrage.
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Kane, 19, later confessed to causing the animal unnecessary suffering and throwing it, while 18-year-old Doherty admitted the same but also pleaded guilty to “spinning the snake around” and causing it to suffer injury.
The shame-faced pair returned to the dock yesterday, where Sheriff Gary Aitken ordered Kane to perform 80 hours of unpaid work in the next six months, and Doherty 120 hours.
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 before picking it up, spinning it around above her head and throwing it.”
A member of the public intervened at that point and handed Esmerelda in to the police, who gave it to the Scottish SPCA.
Ms Clark added that the 4ft snake was “regurgitating blood”, and “appeared to be convulsing in pain”.
She 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.”
Defending Kane, of Printfield Walk, solicitor Iain McGregor maintained that his client did not realise Esmerelda was a live animal at first.
He said: “She though 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: “She accepts that her behaviour was completely reprehensible.”
Mr Burgess said the snake may have suffered some of its injuries when it escaped from its home and fell “from quite high up” on the multi-storey block.
Sheriff Aitken said he had “limited sympathy” for the teenagers, whose troubles he said were “nobody’s fault but their own”.
He added: “I hope it was drunken stupidity that led to this, rather than an underlying defect in your character. People do not like those who abuse animals.”
SSPCA questions why snake tormentors were not banned from keeping animals
An animal charity last night welcomed the sentencing of Kane and Doherty but expressed disappointment that no order was imposed preventing them from keeping pets.
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 contributed to the death of the poor snake.”
When a pair of north-east men sparked outrage by blitzing a pet gecko in a blender in 2016, they were given the chance to avoid a prison sentence by volunteering their time at an animal charity.
Daniel Innes and Jordan McIsaac killed two of the reptiles in Aberchirder – dropping one on the floor and putting the other in the kitchen appliance.
When they confessed to the crime at Banff Sheriff Court, they were ordered to take on charity work to show remorse but no organisation would take the pair.
They were eventually locked up for nine months.