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Fawn police seek answers in animal abuse

Chuck Biedka
| Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, 1:01 a.m.

Someone used shoelaces to hang a cat from a tree in Fawn sometime Tuesday, police said.The cat was hanged to death on a tree in sight of a house along the 3000 block of Ridge Road. A homeowner arrived at the residence at about 5 p.m. and discovered the incident.

Someone used a shoelace to tie the adult cat's legs. Another shoelace was tied around its neck, police said.

Police Chief Tim Mayberry said the cat was strangled and it apparently suffered before dying.

He said the cat doesn't belong to the homeowner where it was found. It's unclear if the cat belonged to another family in the area or even if it was feral.

Mayberry doesn't care who owned the cat.

“This was stunning,” Mayberry said. “No animal deserves this.”

Ridge Road is rural, with perhaps a half-dozen houses near the spot where the cat was found.

Mayberry said homeowners don't have any known enemies.

“It was an absolutely sickening sight,” he said. “I've been a cop for 20 years and I've never seen anything like it.

“This could be kids being stupid, or something else,” Mayberry said. “We have to know.

“We need anyone with information to call us.”

There were no similar reports recently filed by nearby police departments, police elsewhere said.

Animal protection officers said they will investigate.

“This doesn't happen often, but even one time is too many,” said David Janusek, executive director of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.

There are alternatives for unwanted cats, he said. Cats can be dropped off at a shelter.

If the torture was intended, “there are an abundance of studies that shows people who abuse animals often abuse people next,” he said.

Brian Bucek Jr., an enforcement officer for the Humane Society, said he has seen one case of intentional torture of an animal in the past four years.

Sarah Speed, state director for the Humane Society of the U.S. said she hasn't heard about the case but isn't surprised.

“There has been a disturbing trend of really sick animal cruelty in the last year. We've had a cat entirely covered with duct tape,” she said. “And in the Philadelphia area, three dogs were put into kennels and set on fire.”Most animal abuse is considered to be a summary offense resulting in a fine.

But animal torture is a misdemeanor and can result in stiffer penalties.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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