TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind., USA: Walter Baldwin directed a juvenile accomplice to kick a locked cage with a domestic cat inside into a pond to drown it according to recent news media reports. The juvenile filmed the event. The cat was trapped at a mobile home park: 52 Mobile Home Estates which is owned by Baldwin.
The juvenile filming asked Baldwin “You ready?” He replies, “Go for it.” That minor then kicked the cage with the cat inside into the water. READ AN EARLIER POST (opens a new tab).
Baldwin was tried in a criminal court for five serious crimes including torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal and killing a domestic animal. He was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor as he had directed a minor to kick the cage into the water. Baldwin was convicted after pleading guilty.
At trial his defence team produced supporters who vouched for his good character with praise such as:
“You couldn’t meet a better person.”
“[Baldwin] is a good person. He’s helped out a lot of people over the years.”
However an animal control officer, Seth Kirkendall, and Sharon Dull, who serves on the Tippecanoe County Animal Advisory Board said that Baldwin was rude to them when they tried to provide advice on dealing with feral cats at the mobile home estate.
Baldwin apologized in court by reading out a letter. He said that his behavior was inexcusable.
Baldwin avoided jail but was fined $2,500 and he must serve a six month community order combined with one and a half years of suspended supervised probation.
Comment/opinion: Many animal advocates will find the sentence too lenient. No doubt the guilty plea helped him. Perhaps there are two aggravating factors. Firstly, the cat was a domestic cat and therefore some’s pet. Has that cat owner come forward and are they seeking compensation from Baldwin? There are probably contractual remedies available here if the owner lives on the park owned by Baldwin. Secondly, Baldwin’s actions in perverting the mindset of a young person it as Baldwin admitted inexcusable.
I would have liked to have seen some reporting on the cat’s name if it is available and the name of the owner. We need more information about the cats when they are victims of human behavior.