NEW YORK -- A local man is now facing a felony charges after police say he killed his cat intentionally and in a gruesome way.
Police say they found the cat dead in the yard of a home on Ryckman Ave with its head nearly severed from its body and only being held on by its spinal cord.
The Albany County Sheriff’s Department had a mugshot on file for John Gehrlein, 45, who also goes by the name of Jakob Spearfisher. He’s now being charged with a Class E felony under Buster’s Law for the killing of his cat.
“It’s just trying to, you know, you’re at a loss for words,” said neighbor Owusu Anane. “What is the reasoning behind this?”
Those who live near Gehrlein’s home on Ryckman Avenue where the crime took place were shocked when they were hold what had happened.
“Just hearing this story is disheartening,” said Anane. “You wouldn’t expect it living in this neighborhood.”
Albany police spokesperson Steve Smith says officers responded to a call that appears to have come from Gehrlein’s neighbors and what they found was alarming.
“It appeared that its neck had been cut with some sort of sharp object to the point where it was almost decapitated,” Smith explained.
They felony charge Gehrlein now faces falls under Buster’s Law, something Senator-elect Jim Tedisco pushed heavily for during his time in the assembly.
“I’d like to say I was shocked, but I wasn’t because we’ve seen this happen all too often,” Tedisco said.
He says often people who hurt animals in a cruel way, go on to hurt humans. That’s why he says it’s best for people like this to be off the streets and Gehrlein’s neighbors agree.
“It raises concern,” said Anane. “It’s very alarming and I hope this individual gets the help that they deserve.”
Police are still unsure what prompted the crime. Gehrlein was arraigned Friday morning and bail was set at $15,000.
Senator-elect Tedisco says he thinks even more serious laws need to be put in place to prevent crimes like this.
(News10 - Dec 23, 2016)