SALEM, OREGON – A Salem man was found guilty of killing a neighbor’s cat and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and five years of supervised probation.
As part of the sentence, Theodore Dodenhoff is not able to possess any animals — except for the fish that he already has as pets — animal traps or poisons, Marion County Circuit Court Judge Dale Penn ordered on Friday.
Prosecutor Jake Kamins asked the judge to provide a bit of a longer probation period than the presumptive sentence of three years because one of the terms of probation prohibits Dodenhoff from having domestic animals for five years.
Kamins said Dodenhoff didn’t take responsibility for killing the cat at all, didn’t say where the body was and didn’t show any genuine sign of remorse.
In July 2015, Dodenhoff set a live-animal trap in his backyard. A cat ended up trapped in it and died. Dodenhoff allegedly left the cat trapped in direct sunlight without food or even water. Several neighborhood children, including Dodenhoff’s son, saw the trapped cat.
In a written statement read by Kamins, cat owner Danielle Sherbourne described Titan as a family member that she spoiled and who would teach the other cats how to hunt and behave.
“(Titan) was my baby,” she said. “(Dodenhoff) took that away … all because he went into your yard.”
Sherbourne said Dodenhoff’s actions taught his son that it’s OK to treat those who don’t agree with you in an appropriate fashion and that it’s OK to be a cruel bully.
“May my kitty cause you nightmares,” she said.
Kamins also asked for a $10,000 fine because of the egregiousness of the case but Penn denied that request.
Defense attorney Katherine Kahl asked that jail time be limited to the four days Dodenhoff had already spent in the Marion County jail. “Time served.”
Dodenhoff submitted a written statement to the judge but it was not read aloud in court. Kahl said Dodenhoff wrote that this particular incident doesn’t reflect his character as a whole. It’s one day of his life, but not who he is, she stated.
Kahl asked Penn to also consider the punishment Dodenhoff was receiving outside the courtroom.
Online, people have been sending him death threats, making jokes about killing him pre-meditatively and also showing happiness that he’s losing business because of the situation. Kahl even submitted some of those statements as evidence.
“The problems that we’re seeing on the Internet are not limited to the Internet,” she said.
Because of the case and Internet vitriol, he is no longer able to live at his residence and is in danger of losing his backup housing, Kahl said.
Dodenhoff is also being followed. People took pictures of him moving and tweeted them to Kamins saying that he was trying to flee the state. They’ve taken pictures of him playing with his 8-year-old son and posted them online and writing that Dodehoff is a monster, Kahl said.
If you ask us here at The Best Cat Page, your sentence wasn’t nearly long enough. You got off easy, monster!