Richmond police arrested a 14-year-old boy on Friday and charged him with felony cruelty to animals after police say he and two other boys provoked their dogs to kill a family’s cat Sunday evening.
Morris Parker says he was arriving at his East End home at about 7 p.m. on Sunday when he saw three boys and three pit bulls in his neighbor’s yard in the 2100 block of Selden Street. One dog was biting down on a cat, jerking it violently from side to side, Parker said, and it appeared the cat was already dead.
“It’s uncalled for. It’s unacceptable,” Richmond police Lt. Jody Blackwell said after showing a reporter a video taken by a witness.
In the video, shown to reporters but not released to the public, the three boys appear to be cheering for the leashed dogs as they attack the cat.
It was only after the cat became motionless, still firmly in the dog’s mouth, that one of the boys slapped the dog repeatedly and told the dog to let go.
Parker, 65, said several people watched the attack. When there were screams for someone to call police, the boys ran away.
Police are still searching for two suspects who appear to be juveniles.
The cat owner, who had several cats in his backyard on Friday evening, had numerous “no trespassing” signs and a fence around the backyard,
Parker said the cat was like “family” to him, and while he didn’t see what happened before the attack, he said there was no excuse for the boys to be in his neighbor’s backyard.
Blackwell said the owner of the cat told police that the boys had been near his home with dogs in the past and that he had asked them to stay away.
The 14-year-old was arrested after someone who had seen a TV report about the attack spotted a boy who looked similar and called police, Blackwell said.
Blackwell asked for the public’s help in identifying the two other suspects. The two at-large youths could also face charges including animal cruelty, police said.
Blackwell said training dogs to be vicious also puts children in danger. He said animal control officials have captured two of the dogs but are still trying to find the third.
Still images of the suspects have been released, but Blackwell said the department has deemed the graphic video as “not suitable for television.”
Anyone with information can call Lt. Jody Blackwell at (804) 646-3387 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. Citizens can also text Crime Stoppers at 274637, using the key word “ITip” followed by your tip. Both Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.