The owners of a kitten which was thrown into a wheelie bin by a middle-aged woman have appealed to hundreds of people who have expressed their rage online not to "take matters into their own hands".
The RSPCA launched an investigation after a grey-haired woman was captured on CCTV dumping Lola the rescue kitten into a large green rubbish bin in the Stoke area of Coventry.
The cat, which was trapped for 15 hours, emerged unscathed but footage of the incident, posted on social networking site Facebook, provoked angry reactions.
Hundreds of people have joined groups on the site and many have posted threatening messages about the woman depicted in the CCTV.
The RSPCA said the woman had been identified. The charity said police were supporting the investigation and urged the public to "leave the matter to be dealt with correctly by the authorities".
Lola's owner Stephanie Mann, 24, said: "I can't believe the reaction to the story. I only posted it on Facebook because I wanted to see who she was. Whatever she has done, I don't like her, but I don't want her to get hurt."
Mrs Mann said she realised Lola was trapped in the bin outside their home in Brays Lane when she heard her crying on Sunday morning.
She said: "She doesn't come home much, to be honest - she only comes home to eat and the rest of the time she is out and about so we didn't even notice she was missing."
Mrs Mann and her husband Darryl, 26, checked the CCTV from security cameras they have installed on the front of their terraced home and were stunned by what they saw. The footage showed a woman stroking the cat as it walked along a wall before looking over her shoulder and dumping it into the bin.
West Midlands Police said they did not arrest the woman because she had not committed a criminal offence.