One cat is dead, another is recovering and the Mill Valley man who allegedly attacked them is under indictment.
The Union County Grand Jury has indicted Bret Michael Collins, 20, of 669 Gallop Lane, charging him with two counts of cruelty to companion animals.
“It is a horrible case of abuse of animals,” said Union County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Chase.
Chase said prosecutors believe Collins did not like cats anyway and then was allegedly bitten by one of the cats, prompting him to allegedly attack the animal.
Court documents allege that on Jan. 18, Collins attacked the cats — Charlie and Chance. According to court documents, Collins broke Charlie’s tail, several ribs and a leg.
“The bone didn’t have a little fracture, it was completely severed. There was nothing holding it together,” Chase said.
Additionally, the cat’s teeth were broken out and it had a collapsed lung.
“You could see purple bruising all over the cat’s body,” Chase said. “He was bruised on his head, ears, thigh, on his shoulder. There were huge purple bruises.”
Prosecutors said they believe Collins stomped on the cat, grabbed it by the tail and swung it, “slamming him either on the floor or against something.” They believe Collins kicked the cat in the head.
“Charlie had to be humanely euthanized after this,” Chase said.
The other cat, a litter mate, “suffered similar injuries but not as severe,” Chase said.
When the owner of the cats found them, she took Charlie to a veterinarian. The veterinarian examined Charlie and identified the bruising as sign of abuse. He asked if there were other cats in the home.
Chance was examined and veterinarians feel he could recover. Charlie was put to sleep. Investigators will examine his body.
Collins is being held in Tri-County Regional Jail. Bond has been set at $10,000. If convicted, Collins could face as many as 24 months in prison. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Feb. 26.
Chase said animal cruelty laws changed in 2016. Prior, cruelty to animals was charged as a misdemeanor. Under the new law, if the animal is a companion animal and suffers “serious physical harm” the allegation can be charged as a felony.
“The change in the law is something I appreciate,” Chase said. “Now we are able to distinguish between what’s a misdemeanor and what’s a felony. I think that is something that has been needed for a long time.”
Chase said it is the job of the prosecutor to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.
“We want to see justice served,” Chase said. “We advocate for the victim, regardless of whether that victim has two legs or four.”
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