WAYNESBORO, PENNSYLVANIA – A Waynesboro man was in Franklin County Jail Wednesday after police said he is responsible for the death of two kittens and also a ferret.
Richard Lee Barnett Jr., 20, is charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and one count of cruelty to animals by killing, maiming or disfiguring any domestic animal of another person, according to the court.
A woman called Waynesboro Police on Jan. 2, upon finding her 2-month-old kitten, which she thought was missing, on the floor of an upstairs bathroom in her South Church Street home. The woman said Barnett was the only person living on the second floor, and the kitten was way too small to climb the stairs, court documents show.
The kitty had a misshapen and swollen head, police wrote. The woman said that when looking around the house, she found a dead kitten in the bottom drawer of one of Barnett’s dressers. Barnett had told the woman that the kitten had been missing for a couple days, and later said he had given it away to a friend.
When police spoke with the owner of the home, she said that since Barrett had moved into the home, two ferrets went missing, and then two cats. The home had nine ferrets in a large cage in the kitchen, and there are seven still in the house.
The woman brought police to the second floor of the home, showing officers the orange and white kitten laying on top of clothes in the bottom of a dresser drawer The kitten had blood on its nose and mouth, and was missing a few of it’s front teeth. There also appeared to evidence of other abuse done to the kitten.
“The kitten appeared to be flat, like a deflated football,” an officer wrote in charging documents.
The officers documented “brown droplets” splattered over white walls and the white furniture, and a yellowish stain of dried liquid which was running down the wall. There was also a curtain rod sitting on top of a box near the doorway that had been bent and had brown/reddish stains on it, along with some cat hair.
One of the home owners told police about an incident weeks before this, when one of the ferrets went missing. After smelling a foul odor on the second floor, one of the owners went upstairs, where Barnett pointed to a section of drop ceiling. On top of the drop ceiling tile rested the dead, “rotting” ferret, police wrote.
The owner said that another ferret sustained burns to his whiskers and face, according to court documents.
Police took photos of the brown splatter, that they determined it to be dried blood.
The injured kitten was taken to a local veterinary hospital, where the vet found fresh blood visible in the kitten’s mouth and other signs of obvious abuse across the kitten’s body. The kitten’s injuries were severe enough that the vet recommended the kitten be euthanized, which the owner agreed to do.
On Jan. 3, Barnett called Franklin County Dispatch and asked if he was wanted and should turn himself in. Barnett told the dispatcher that he felt remorseful for killing a kitten, according to court documents.
Waynesboro Police officers then contacted Barnett, who explained that he had gotten angry and “stomped” on his kitten a couple of days ago, according to court documents. This was the kitten in his dresser, he said. He claimed he did not hurt the woman’s kitten, merely took the kitten upstairs to pet it and play with it.
Barnett told police that he has a serious anger problem and needs help, court documents show.
Barnett was taken into custody Wednesday, and was being held at Franklin County Jail on $25,000 bail. A preliminary hearing on all of these charges is set for Jan. 12.