Sunday, January 6, 2008

Teens cook cat to death

The Edmonton Sun - January 5, 2008


Four teens who recently broke into a Camrose home put a cat in a microwave and cooked it to death, Camrose police said yesterday.

The horrific animal torture has sent shockwaves through the city southeast of Edmonton and incensed animal rights activists.

"In over 25 years of policing, I've never come across anything like this before," said Camrose police Insp. Lee Foreman. "It's disgusting and it's very upsetting for all the families involved."

Foreman said one 13-year-old and three 15-year-olds twice broke into a Camrose home in Dec. 29 and Dec. 30, while the owners were vacationing out-of-town.

None of the teens lives at the residence or is related to the owners, Foreman said. No other animals are believed to have been in the house.

Police allege that on the night of Dec. 30 the group entered the home, put an adult cat in the microwave and nuked it to death.

The cat was later found by a family friend who was taking care of the house in the absence of the owners.

"I cannot recall ever having seen something as disturbing as this before either," said Dr. Dick Bibby, the Camrose veterinarian who performed the grisly post-mortem examination on the cooked cat.

He could not discuss his findings due to doctor-client privilege, but suggested the cat's owners are understandably distraught.

Told of the torture by Sun Media yesterday, officials at the Edmonton Humane Society were also sickened.

"It's horrific to imagine someone could do this. Teenagers know this is twisted and wrong, and there is no excuse for such a blatant disregard for a helpless animal's life," said society spokesman Diane Shannon.

In Didsbury, where a dog named Daisy Duke was viciously beaten and dragged from the rear of a vehicle until it was near death and eventually euthanized in 2006, another animal activist said parents need to pay closer attention to their kids.

"I don't understand how parents keep missing the signals of this kind of deviant behaviour. It should be mandatory that all of these kids are psychiatrically assessed to find out just how dangerous they really are, and the police should be looking into what kind of household they are coming from," said Tamara Chaney.

Chaney started a 112,000-signature petition seeking tougher penalties for animal abusers following the Didsbury incident.

A teen who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in the Daisy Duke case received a conditional sentence.

Daniel Charles Haskett, 19, has also admitted taking part in the dog's torture and will be sentenced in April.

Police say each of the teens allegedly involved in the microwaving face a litany of charges, including unlawfully killing an animal, causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal, breaking and entering, theft and possession of stolen property.

They are to appear in Camrose youth court at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 7.

People Who Are Violent to Animals ... Rarely Stop There

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