US

‘Fishing for Cats:’ Man Charged With Animal Cruelty After Placing Fish Hooks Into Cat Food

By Zachary Stieber

A Pennsylvania man has been charged after turning himself in for animal cruelty.

Kenny Rowles, 27, was booked into jail after being arraigned on May 22, reported Fox 43. He was being held on $100,000 bail.

According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Rowley was baiting fish hooks with food and feeding stray cats.

Volunteers with Happy Hearts and Tails Safe Haven Animal Rescue found a stray cat with a fish hook embedded in its mouth at an abandoned house, triggering an investigation.

“There was a string with a hook, and then he put food on it, dangling for the cat and the cat ate it,” Dawn Mandygral, who runs the rescue group, told WNEP in April. “He deliberately—he was fishing for cats. That’s what he said.”

There were at least two more “with string coming out of their mouth,” she added.

Dr. Inayat Kathio, who was treating the cat that was found, said that the treatment was costly.

“Take the string out from the stomach, that costs money,” said Kathio. “Drained the abscesses from the cat and give them the treatment. That costs lots of money.”

An investigation by society officers led to them taking out a warrant on May 21. Rowles turned himself in late that day.

“The charges we did file against him were torture. Torture is prolonged pain and not providing vet care, and the wound was infected. He was in pretty bad shaped, the cat,” Humane Society Police Officer Lisa Devlin told The Citizens Voice. “It was very harmful to the cat, so I’m thankful that the justice system will step in now and we’ll get justice.”

Devlin said that she went to Rowley’s house and told him about evidence linking him to the fish hooks. She said that he admitted to taking pieces of meat, tying them to a string and a fishing line, and tossing the meat off his back porch.

He described himself then waiting to “feed and play with the cats.”

Devlin told Rowley about the cat with the fish hook embedded in its mouth and Rowles started crying.

Rowles later told police officers that he used fish hooks to bait the food.

He appeared in court after turning himself and left in tears, according to the Voice.

“The charges are very serious, it was very harmful to the cat,” Devlin told the Times-Leader after Rowles was arraigned. “I’m thankful that the justice system will step in now and get justice for Tollie.”

“The intent was a little bit concerning. Neglect is one thing but the intent to intentionally harm and knowingly, just like the law says, it’s concerning,” Devlin added. She said that the cat is in foster care. Happy Hearts shared a picture of Tollie on May 23, saying “he’s a wonderfully resilient boy.”

“Look at our Tollie. He’s so content and peaceful. It makes my heart so happy to see him resting so peacefully. ♡ ty to his foster Mommy he couldn’t have a better person loving him. This photo was sent to me in the wee hours of the night..she was able to capture this perfect photo,” the group said.

“May you be punished to the fullest extent of the law Kenny Rowles for what you did to this precious kitty. You didn’t break his spirit he’s a wonderfully resilient boy. Who deserves nothing less than this. To be loved and cherished.”