How social media caught a cat abuser

Catching a cat abuser started on Snapchat

Catching a cat abuser started on Snapchat

The story starts with a photograph on Snapchat, one of the Internet’s major social media websites. It was uploaded by a man who took a photograph of himself holding his cat with his hand clenched around the cat’s neck as if he were strangling her. At this point in the story we had a photograph of a cat being abused which was taken by the abuser and which was on the abuser’s Snapchat page.

It appears that somebody (probably a concerned cat/animal advocate) took a screenshot of the photograph and uploaded it to Facebook (or it was embedded into FB). The image not only showed the cat being abused but also the Snapchat username of the person who took the photograph.

This screenshot was then noticed by a woman who runs a cat rescue center at Stoney Point which is 900 miles away from the home of the man who abused his cat. He lives in Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, USA. The picture was actually on the webpage of a friend of this woman.

Subsequently the cat rescue lady living 900 miles away contacted Macon County Animal Control and Care Center (Animal Control), forwarding to them a copy of the picture.

Sgt Matt Reynolds of Animal Control, in a sworn affidavit (a sworn statement), stated that he was able to trace the cat abuser who he says is a 20-year-old man living in the 1300 block off West Wood Street, Decatur.

He has been booked on preliminary charges of animal torture, which is a class 3 felony together with the depiction of animal cruelty which is a class A misdemeanor.


The man admitted to Reynolds that he held his cat up by the neck while at the same time taking a Snapchat photo of her/him. It took place about a month before his arrest. The man admitted to sharing the photo on his Snapchat account.

Social media can be a powerful tool in catching animal abusers

The story is interesting to me in that it shows how the network of online cat lovers using social media in its various forms can result in the arrest of an alleged cat abuser whose actions took place many miles from the person who identifies the man and reports it to the authorities.

The story also indicates once again that some people are unaware that their actions constitute animal abuse or animal cruelty under the laws of the United States of America. They appear to have little conception of what animal cruelty is. This allows them the arrogance to show off their behavior on social media. They are oblivious of the fact that they are providing evidence to many thousands of people of a crime which will get them into a lot of trouble.

Minor crime

As far as I am aware the cat is all right. In the grand scheme of things this appears to me to be a relatively minor form of cat abuse when compared to many other cases I have read about and which have gone unpunished. It’s good to see the man being prosecuted. It is not always the case for crimes of this nature.

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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