Saturday, December 17, 2016

Mississippi: Cat believed tortured and scalded found dead in fetal position under house

MISSISSIPPPI -- On Wednesday morning, an injured cat police believe was doused with hot liquid was found dead under a house.

The video of the incident went viral on Facebook Tuesday. It’s been viewed more than 22,000 times and shared almost 530 times.

Moss Point police announced Wednesday they had determined where the incident took place and had collected evidence. The people shown in the video will be charged with aggravated animal cruelty, Moss Point Interim Police Chief Brandon Ashley said.

An necropsy showed the cat, which police believe was someone’s pet, suffered thermal burns over the majority of its body.

It was found under a house not far from where it had been burned.

City Animal Control wasn’t able to catch it Tuesday night.

Animal rescue volunteers gathered at the house about 9 a.m. Wednesday, and a volunteer from a Pascagoula group retrieved the cat.

Helene Hicks, with Ocean Springs’ Pink Pawz Spay and Neuter, said “a woman went under, wrapped the cat in a cloth and Animal Control confirmed it was dead and took pictures.

“It was curled in a fetal position,” Hicks said. “Very sad. It looked like a nice cat, in good shape. I’m going to say it was owned by someone because of the general condition of it.”

Moss Point police have identified persons of interest and are working to locate them, officials said.

The video caused shock and anger across social media — a black-and-white cat in a cat trap writhing and trying to run because someone is pouring something from a pot onto it.

A cat trap is a fairly small cage. In the video it is on cement at the edge of a carport in Moss Point. A man and woman are involved. She pours a pot of what looks like scalding water on the animal in the trap several times. You see the pot being emptied onto the cage at the end of the video.

The frantic cat is clearly reacting. There’s no faking that something has happened as it scrambles and writhes. The images are disturbing and readers should consider that before clicking on the video.

The man in the video sounds like he’s taunting the cat, saying, “Oooooo” over and over. It appears the cat might have been a nuisance, or done something the people didn’t like.

The video making the rounds on Facebook is a video of a video being played on a cellphone. The original video may have been posted on Snapchat.

Both the Moss Point and Pascagoula police departments received calls from concerned residents.

One Facebook comment warned viewers: “Watch with caution, but how horrible and upsetting that people can be this way! Who in their right mind would ever think that it’s okay to treat an animal like this! If the tables were turned and it was you being treated like this you would want justice! ...”

In a Facebook conversation with the woman who had the video on her page and is believed to have made the video, a Gulfport woman tries to find out what happened to the cat.

The woman, who is believed to have been part of the scalding, said: “The cat is alive n ok. I let the damn cat go ...”

Hicks told the Sun Herald, “It makes me sick. Because in Mississippi, first-offense animal abuse is a misdemeanor, these people will probably get off with a slap on the wrist.”

Update: LaDerrick Rostchild, 24, and Larry Rostchild Jr., 43, were charged - along with Karmen Coleman.

(Sun Herald - Dec 13, 2016)

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