In late October 2018, horrific images depicting extreme animal cruelty, mutilation and death were posted on social media. The cat in those highly disturbing pictures was, Kitty, the beloved companion of a West Asheville family. Asheville Police were alerted to the crimes and two of the three suspects in the photographs were eventually arrested. The suspects were initially held on a 20K bond, but their bond was lowered, and they were released due to the lack of strong anti-cruelty laws in North Carolina.
Statistics show that suspects released on small or no bonds do not return for court dates, making prosecutions extremely difficult. The individuals in this case are suspected to have tortured, killed and mutilated other cats in other communities.
A coalition of animal welfare organizations and individuals are demanding that the animal cruelty laws in the city of Asheville be increased from a lower Class H felony where it stands at now to a Class C felony that will insure that perpetrators of animal cruelty will be sentenced to significant jail time, rather than no jail time and/or fined an insignificant amount.
A felony Class H only suggests a penalty of up to 10 months in jail with no specified fine and is entirely up to the judge. Forty-eight states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have laws making certain types of animal cruelty a felony offense. Forty-six states hold much stricter penalties, moving their Class up to the middle and even top pier of the Class status. Texas for example, holds it at a Class C felony with a penalty of up to 2 years in jail and a $10K fine. Georgia's penalty for felony animal cruelty is up to 10 years in prison and a100K fine for a 3rd offense. North Carolina laws are among the most lax, only slightly higher than Idaho and Guam.
We will be asking for a Class C felony penalty of 5 years in jail and 10K fine with victim compensation of up to 2K.
It has been proven that animal cruelty escalates to other abuses, including violence against women and children. Most serial killers have tortured and killed animals before they graduated to killing humans. The FBI uses reports of animal cruelty in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals.
A 2013 study found that 43% of those who commit school massacres also previously committed acts of violence toward animals.
A survey of women in domestic violence shelters indicated that 71 percent had partners who abused or threatened to abuse pets.
100% of sexual homicide offenders examined had a history of cruelty towards animals.
48% of rapists and 30% of child molesters reported committing animal abuse during childhood or adolescence.
63.3% of men who had committed crimes of aggression admitted to cruelty to animals.
25% of violent, incarcerated men reported higher rates of "substantial cruelty to animals" in childhood than a comparison group of non-incarcerated men.
Men who abused animals were 5 times more likely to have been arrested for violence towards humans, 4 times more likely to have committed property crimes, and 3 times more likely to have records for drug and disorderly conduct offenses.
People who abused animals and turned to killing humans, killed humans in the same way that they had killed the animals. Patrick Sherrill, who killed 14 coworkers at a post office and then shot himself, had a history of stealing local pets and allowing his dog to attack and mutilate them, just as the three people in Kitty's case are suspected of doing.
The perpetrators of this most recent animal cruelty in our community are linked to a Facebook page (LATFO) promoting videos of killings of police officers and pornography of underaged girls. We must take animal cruelty much more seriously and have much stronger penalties for first time offenders. Please sign and show your support for changing Asheville's animal cruelty laws allowing for much stiffer penalties.