The owners of a cat have appealed to outraged animal lovers not to take matters into their own hands after a passer-by dumped her in a wheelie bin.
An RSPCA investigation was started after a woman was filmed on CCTV throwing four-year-old Lola into a bin outside her owners' home in Coventry.
Darryl Mann released his trapped pet 15 hours later after hearing her cries.
Police said community support officers were brought in after large crowds gathered outside the woman's home.
Outrage was sparked after the film was posted online to try to trace the woman, prompting hundreds of angry messages about her.
She was later identified by police.
Lola was released unhurt on Sunday and the RSPCA is now leading an investigation into animal cruelty, supported by West Midlands Police.
The RSPCA was due to speak to the woman on Tuesday and police community support officers were brought in to monitor the situation when large crowds gathered outside her home, police said.
Mr Mann's wife Stephanie, 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.
"Now that the police know who she is, I think people should leave it to them and the RSPCA and not take matters into their own hands.
"Whatever she has done, I don't like her, but I don't want her to get hurt.
"It needs to be dealt with properly, not by people getting aggressive with her."
Mr Mann, 26, of Brays Lane, said he had not realised his cat was missing as she was in the habit of wandering off at night.
"She is a night cat. We sometimes don't see her in the day unless she comes in for food.
"I don't know how someone could do it to such a defenceless animal.
"I thought she might have got in herself - she's not the brightest cat.
"It's disgusting, she's a lovely cat... she'd never hurt anyone."