The New Year opened with an incident that has residents living near Larrabee Street and Sunset Boulevard outraged and fearful for their outdoor cats’ lives.
In the early morning hours on January 2, a cat’s howls accompanied by a person’s yelling were heard at least two residents along the street just south of the Sunset Strip, an unusual combination for even that noisy section of WeHo.
The Beverly/Park La Brea Press reports that a resident named Katy Junge awoke to the ruckus and peered out her window to see a man with a pit bull allegedly “standing over” a cat she later found to be a “neighborhood cat” named Phantom.
Ms. Junge’s friend, yelled from the window that they were about to call the Sheriff, sending the man and his dog scurrying away into the night.
Racing down to the street, Ms. Junge and her unidentified friend found the cat mauled to death.
Ms. Junge told the Bev Press, “I heard the cat crying out and screaming, and I heard the man yell ‘take that’ in a very violent tone. He repeated it several times.
“I saw him hovering over the cat. When I ran across the street to check on the cat, he slowly died, so we called the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department.”
WeHo News could not contact Ms. Junge to confirm her story, however, the Sheriff’s Department did say that a deputy arrived at the location to find a dead cat.
Because the alleged offender had already left the area by the deputy’s arrival and a scouting of the area surrounding it failed to turn up anyone with a pit bull, the Sheriff’s Department admitted being powerless to act further on the alleged crime unless someone turns in the culprit.
The charge for the act would be animal cruelty.
That crime is addressed by Penal Code 597 PC as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on prosecutorial judgment.
If a person is convicted of this offense as a misdemeanor, they face up to one year in a county jail and a maximum $20,000 fine.
If convicted of this offense as a felony, they face 16 months, or two, or three years in the California state prison and the same maximum fine.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, siccing an animal on another with intent to harm it is a “very serious” crime which investigators will pursue if someone comes forward with additional information.
Ms. Junge told the Bev Press that neighbors will put up flyers warning the others about what happened and eliciting calls to the Sheriff.
The man she described as the alleged assailant is Caucasian, under 30 years old with a medium build and short, dark hair.
The dog, she said, is a “blue nose” pit bull, gray in color.
Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station at (310)855-8850.