If you live in Bloomington, Indiana, you may have heard about the local man who was arrested for torturing and killing several cats. The story, ripped directly from the Bloomington-Herald Times*, is below.
Lennox, stolen shelter kitten abused by Bloomington man, found aliveBy Abby Tonsing 331-4245 | email@example.com
December 5, 2012, last update: 12/5 @ 1:53 pm
Lennox, the 3-month-old orange and white kitten, stolen from the animal shelter and later abused by an Indiana University student is alive. The found kitten is expected to make a full recovery.
Bloomington police said 19-year-old Christopher Charles Gugliuzza admitted he slapped, threw and tied a computer cord around the neck of the kitten he admittedly stole from the shelter on Monday. He told police he wasn’t sure if the cat had died.
Laurie Ringquist, director of Bloomington Animal Care and Control, said that as she was reading online comments on a news article about the cat abuse Tuesday evening, she found some from students, saying a stray kitten matching Lennox’s description had been found.
“They just found her there in a wooded area near those apartments,” she said.
Police and animal control officers picked up Lennox between 9 and 10 Tuesday night, Ringquist said.
The cat was taken to College Mall Vet, where a microchip verified it was indeed Lennox.
“The xrays didn’t show any damage to her organs or fractures to her ribs or limbs. She is running a fever, so the vet wanted to keep her another 24 hours for observation.”
“We’re really grateful, and they did the right thing by taking in a kitten, seeing an animal in need and taking it in and giving it the care it needed,” Ringquist said. “I’m just very grateful and pleased that they were willing to step up and do the right thing by this kitten.”
Police first arrested Gugliuzza, 365 E. Varsity Lane, on a preliminary charge of theft after he admitted he stole the kitten from the shelter because he had no money.
As Gugliuzza was being released from the jail after posting a $705 bond, Bloomington police took him into custody for the second time Monday after a woman reported he may have killed the cat he stole and detailed his history of killing and abusing other cats.
The woman told police she saw Gugliuzza throw Lennox against the wall of his residence several times, choke the cat with his hands, use a computer power cord to tie around the cat’s neck, drag the cat around the apartment and into a nearby wooded area and throw the cat into trees. She told police she saw Gugliuzza pick up a large rock and throw it at the cat, causing the cat to go limp and stop crying. She told police she wasn’t sure if the cat died, and police could not find the cat on Monday.
The woman told police that Monday’s incident with Lennox wasn’t the first time Gugliuzza has abused or killed cats, according to Bloomington police Sgt. John Kovach.
Gugliuzza admitted to police he strangled and killed a cat named Misty, because he was mad that it had scratched him, and buried that cat in a wooded area on 17th Street. Police found the remains of the buried cat on Monday.
He told police he had another cat, Rosie, that died in its sleep after falling down the stairs.
And then there’s Peaches, who Gugliuzza said ran away after it hurt its ankle after jumping off a counter. But the woman told police Gugliuzza returned from a visit to a veterinarian to say Peaches had to be put to sleep.
Police arrested Gugliuzza a second time on Monday, this time on preliminary charges of preliminary charges of cruelty to animals. He was released from the Monroe County Jail at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday after posting a $905 bond.
This, for the record, is one reason why I feel sort of yucky about the decision by many animal shelters (Bloomington’s included) to promote free or very cheap animal adoptions. This summer, the Bloomington Animal Shelter participated in the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100,000 Challenge, which was a national competition among 50 shelters to find homes for as many animals as possible, as quickly as possible. One strategy used by the Bloomington shelter was a promotional event called “Free Feline Friday.” On Fridays, for several weeks during the summer and early fall, the shelter waived adoption fees for all cats and kittens. (Presumably, adopters were still responsible for medical costs.)
This is a bad idea, you guys. Everybody knows that if you want your kittens to go to good homes, you have to charge people to adopt your kittens. Everybody knows that free kittens are way less likely to find a good home than kittens who are sold–even if they’re sold for a pittance, like five or ten dollars.
Now, god knows I’m not suggesting that people who adopt free kittens will go on to torture and kill them. In fact, a lot of people who adopt free kittens go on to become excellent, excellent cat owners. (I have adopted two free kittens, myself, and I consider myself to be an excellent cat caregiver.) But events like Free Feline Friday and its accompanying attitude of “let’s find a way to send everyone who walks through this door home with a pet!” cheapens the act of committing to animal ownership. It emphasizes getting animals adopted over matching animals with owners who are ready and willing to take on the commitment.
Because here’s the thing they don’t tell you about owning pets: It’s really freaking hard. A cute puppy with boundless energy can tip so, so easily into a behavior problem. Dogs need your time and your discipline. They need you to be their alpha dog, and if you can’t do it they’ll tear up your shoes and bite your neighbor and pee on your floor. Even if you do it right they’ll still sometimes tear up your shoes and bite your neighbor and pee on your floor. (I know it was you, Lucille Suzette.) Cats track litter across your counter and eat your favorite houseplant and climb across your face at 4 a.m. and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Even if you do it right, even if you and your pet are a match made in heaven and you’ve learned how to discipline your cat or dog and you’ve gotten into a rhythm and you’re happy, happy, happy together, some day your cat or dog will get sick. Dogs tear their ACLs like they’re movie tickets, and surgery is expensive. Dogs also eat things like pennies and the shoe they tore up yesterday and the neighbor’s trash and EVERYTHING YOU HAD IN YOUR CUPBOARD and then they need to get that fixed too. Sometimes cats get sick so young, you guys, and you have to spend thousands of dollars and half of their lives trying to keep them well.
It always ends the same: You love them, and then you have to help them die. And there are very few things in life that are harder than that responsibility, the responsibility of knowing when it’s time to help your pet die, and doing the right thing when that time comes.
It’s worth it. It’s fucking worth it–worth every minute of pain and frustration and sadness and grief.
But it’s not easy. Don’t ever think it’ll be easy. And don’t let things like Free Feline Friday trick you into committing to a responsibility that you’re not ready to take on.
*As I’ve noted elsewhere on this blog, the publishers of the Herald-Times have decided to erect a paywall around its content. Since it’s the only local daily newspaper in this community, this amounts to limiting residents’ access to important information. For this reason, I choose to copy and paste the Herald-Times’ web content here when necessary.