Teens face two charges of animal cruelty after posting cat abuse on YouTube
Lawton_Two Lawton area teens accused of beating a cat and posting it on YouTube over the weekend will be going through the juvenile justice process in Oklahoma. The 14 and 16-year-old brothers each face two charges of animal cruelty after law enforcement was directed to two videos on Sunday that showed the beating and torture of the grey cat named Dusty, and each video carries separate charges. Calls have come in from all over the world to the Comanche County Sheriff’s Department wanting to know what has become of two cats. People have called with offers to adopt the animals, and pay their medical expenses.
The Comanche County District Attorney’s office says the cats have yet to be adopted – although they remain in the care of a local private vet clinic – because they are part of an ongoing investigation. 7News may be able to get video of the cat after it is released and/or adopted to show the status of its recovery. Comanche County Juvenile Bureau’s Rick Lowe says that as this is a juvenile case, and he has no comment. Juvenile records in Oklahoma are sealed. He did say, however, that the juvenile system does provide consequences for actions, and has a lot of tools at its disposal, both in community service, education, etc.
7News phone lines and emails have been busy with questions about what will happen to the boys. Even more are requesting information about Dusty the Cat. The cat is okay and in the care of a veterinarian.
During their investigation, the Comanche County Sheriff’s Department discovered a third abuse video that shows the beating of a black and white cat – also at a teens’ home. The sheriff’s department rescued that cat today.
The videos uploaded to YouTube show two separate incidents of animal abuse involving the same cat, and the teens face separate charges for each video. “We filed two counts of animal cruelty on each of the two teenagers today,” said Comanche County District Attorney Robert Schulte. “They will be referred to the juvenile court system. We’ll expect them to make their appearance early this week before the juvenile judge.”
The teenagers have a right to a jury trial, and if they waive that, a judge will decide their fate. Until the two suspects are 18-years-old they are considered juveniles and the court records will be sealed. However, Schulte says he knows there is a lot of public concern over the case, and the court is taking it seriously. “I can tell you that our juvenile judge is a long-standing judge, very conservative, very well thought of, very well respected judge,” he said. “He will do what he believes is necessary, and feels best in this case as it goes through the system.”
The courts have ensured that the pets will not be abused again. Dusty was removed from the home on Sunday, and the second cat was removed Tuesday. “They have been treated by local veterinarians, they are doing well,” said Schulte. “They will not go back into the home, and they are expected to be adopted out into a good home in the next few days.”
Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley says that once the vet treats Dusty and the other cat, 7News will be able to visit them. You can count on us to have much happier footage of Dusty and the other cat later this week.
Schulte says he did not know what punishment the boys may face if found guilty, but said the penalties for a juvenile conviction could include psychological counseling, court monitoring until they turn 18, community service to provide restitution for treatment of animals, and/or placement in court custody.
Count on 7News for updates on the cats as soon as they are available.