Please help us petition the Lewis and Clark County Attorney to make
sure these men are prosecuted to the fullest! This is such a sad and
horrific story. I drive around and see flyers all over of people
missing their cats...and I wonder how many were tortured to death by these sick individuals.
This story appeared in the Helena Independent Record, last Friday, September 5th, 2008. This is beyond disturbing, and we want to be sure that this case isn't plea bargained down to the usual slap on the wrist.
Three arrested for allegedly killing cats
Independent Record - 09/05/08
Authorities have arrested three Helena men for allegedly
torturing and killing about 20 cats, including three that were burned
Brandon Wayne Hartford, 26, Andrew Joseph Welch, 20, and Kyle
K.Hallowell, 19, each faces a felony charge of aggravated animal
cruelty for "burning, stabbing, beating, slaughtering and torturing"
the cats,which they hunted in several locations in Helena, East
Helena and the Helena Valley, according to documents filed Thursday
in Justice Court.
Hartford and Welch, who are both being held in lieu of a $25,000
bond, were taken into custody Wednesday. Hallowell was arrested
Thursday morning and his bond will be set today.
According to Lewis and Clark County detectives Larry Platts and
Cory Olson, who investigated the killings along with Det. Dennis
Nyland, the three men drove around neighborhoods during the night,
stalking and hunting stray and pet cats.
The men told investigators that they had killed between 16 and
Investigators said there is no evidence that could identify
where the animals came from.
When they located a cat, the men would lure the animal into
their car and take it to one of several locations, which included
construction sites, wooded areas and the house on the 2800 block of
Winslow Avenue where the men have been living.
"These are inhumane acts of cruelty," Sheriff Leo Dutton
said. "It shocks the conscience."
The detectives said the men have been killing the animals for at
least the past two months.
The alleged crimes apparently began with the men's joint
dislike of cats, Platts said. Hartford allegedly started the spree by
beating to death a cat that scratched him when he picked it up, Olson
The investigation of the men stemmed from witness statements
during the investigation of an unrelated report of disorderly conduct
earlier in the week, Dutton said.
Officials declined to give more information about that incident
because it is still under investigation.
"I am shocked how someone can treat an animal with no way of
protecting itself this way and get some gratification from it," Dutton
In addition to the cruelty charges, Hartford and Welch both
face a felony charge of tampering with or fabricating physical
evidence for removing evidence from the crime scene on Winslow Avenue
and using bleach in an attempt to clean up blood stains.
Hallowell also was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of
obstructing a peace officer.
If anyone is interested in contacting the County Attorney or writing them, along with signing this petition, the information is as follows:
Lewis and Clark County Attorney/Public Administrator
Courthouse - 228 Broadway
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 447-8221