Categories: animal abuse

Man who baited cats with fishhooks may be insane

Firstly, a definition of the word “insane”, which is a state of mind preventing normal perception, behaviour or social interaction.

Kenny Rowles

You may remember Kenny Rowles, a man aged 27, living in Plymouth, USA, who admitted to using baited triple fishing hooks on string to feed cats (see Elisa’s article). One cat was found with a triple pronged fishhook embedded in his or her mouth with string attached in a vacant house next to Mr Rowles’ residence. The cat survived his injury after surgery at the Wilkes-Barre Animal Hospital.

Reported on 16 July 2019, in court at Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, judge Michael T. Vough granted a request by his Rowles’ attorney that he undergo a mental health examination. This is to find out whether he is competent to understand criminal proceedings and I suspect indeed to understand what he has done in terms of whether it is criminal or not.

The judge made an order regarding various aspects of the psychiatric examination. Rowles is scheduled to appear in court this Thursday where he can enter a plea on the charges against him of aggravated cruelty to animals and cruelty to animals. A trial date will be set if he pleads not guilty.

Comment: I think it’s an interesting development. It begs the question whether a percentage of these cases of animal cruelty are committed by defendants who are mentally ill to varying degrees. Some of the cat abuse crimes are so sick as to point to genuine mental illness. You could extend the discussion to cases of cat hoarding which are not uncommon. Arguably, these too are often due to mental health illnesses in varying degrees of severity.

Clearly the type of punishment meted out to animal abusers with mental health issues is different to those who are completely compos mentis.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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