Alleged Cat Killer on Trial in VirginiaPublished March 14, 2012
Anthony Robert Ahrens is on trial for allegedly throwing his brown tabby cat into a kennel with three non-cat-friendly dogs.
On Tuesday, March 6, following a preliminary hearing, Judge J. Gregory Ashwell certified a felony charge of animal cruelty against 26-year-old Ahrens, an ex-executive chef.
According to the Rappahannock News, Ahrens is blamed for throwing his tabby cat into a dog kennel, last Christmas Eve, with his two Alaskan malamutes. Explaining his action, Ahrens told Judge Ashwell it was because his cat bit his finger.
Ahrens claims that after his cat, Blueridge, bit him, drawing blood, he became upset so he dropped the cat into the kennel where the dogs were kept. After he discovered the cat was dead he took the body out of the crate and put it in a firewood pile on his property.
Deputy Sheriff Ronnie Dodson testified that on Dec. 26 he was sent to a neighbor’s home. The neighbor, Cynthia Volk, said that the brown tabby had visited her often and had been living at her home for two weeks prior to Dec. 24.
She testified that Ahrens retrieved the cat and put him in a carrier with the help of her husband on the morning of December 24.
The sheriff also spoke with Ahren’s father, Leo Schiff. At the home, he saw two Alaskan malamutes inside the kennel and a third dog on a cable run in the yard. Schiff verified that his son threw the cat into the kennel on December 24, adding that he had retrieved the dead cat from the firewood pile.
Volk also said that on Christmas Day, Schiff phoned her to tell her Blueridge was dead, adding that Schiff had warned her not to return the cat to his son, "Because he would give it to the dogs."
She notified police about the incident.
At the court hearing, Schiff denied Volk's statement and claimed that his son did not intentionally kill the cat. When questioned about what he saw, he said, "I just saw Tony trying to get the cat away from the dog. He loved the cat." Ahrens, who claims the cat slept with him, stated that “in his wildest dreams” he never thought his dog would attack the cat.
Frank Reynolds, Ahrens' attorney claimed that his client's actions did not deserve a felony charge of torturing a companion animal which resulted in Blueridge's death, since the actions were more negligent than belligerent, and moved to have the charges dismissed. However these claims did not win over Judge Ashwell.
Following the testimony, Judge Ashwell said, "You plopped the cat over a six foot fence, and it was almost immediately attacked by a large wolf-like dog. I've got no problem certifying this charge to the Grand Jury.”
Naturally, we will have to wait for the results of the hearings, but until then,if you were on the jury would you consider this a case of animal cruelty or neglect and poor judgment? Tell us with a comment.