A reservist with the Italian army is facing charges of "gross insubordination" following an incident in which she saved the life of a pregnant cat against the orders of her commanding officers.
Lieutenant Barbara Balanzoni, a medical officer stationed in Kosovo, was alerted that one of the many stray cats living on base was in distress, suffering from complications while delivering a litter of kittens. She decided to help, successfully saving the animal's life, and by extension the lives of her offspring. But instead of being commended for her actions, Balanzoni is now facing a military trial.
According to The Guardian, troops are forbidden from "bringing in or having brought in wild, stray or unaccompanied animals" on base. Balanzoni, however, argues that because the resident veterinarian was away at the time, it was her duty as a medical officer to intervene.
"If the cat had died, the entire area would have had to be disinfected," she says. "What is more, the surviving kittens could not have been fed. So they too would have died and created an even greater public health problem."
If convicted, Balanzoni faces at least one year in a military penitentiary.