A man in Buffalo has been charged with animal cruelty in one of the most disturbing cases that the police in the town have ever seen. A father has been accused of killing a cat and then sending a photo of the body to three of his children. Antonio Martin, 40, killed the family cat by hanging him from the bed of one of his children. When the cat had died, then a photo of his body was sent to three children. It is not clear whether there were more than three children living in the home at the time. The incident took place at some point between Saturday evening and Sunday morning. It is understood that the police were called on Sunday morning and Martin was arrested there and then.
It is unclear why Martin would have chosen to send the photos of the deceased cat to his children. Losing their pet would have been difficult enough and finding out he had died in this way would have been even more distressing. There are no details available about the relationship that Martin had with his children and so it may be that he had acted badly towards then before. Even if this was the case, then receiving a photo of their cat in this manner is still likely to be something that would have upset them.
There are a few details about the case that are still not known, as pointed out by Crime Online. It is not clear how old the children are, although presumably they are all old enough to have their own phone. Martin has admitted that he carried out the crime, but has offered no motive as to the reasoning behind it. Martin has been charged with two counts of child endangerment and one count of animal cruelty. He was arraigned on these charges before being released on his own recognizance. It is not known whether he returned to the family home after being released, or whether the children are still living there. The fact that the children were sent a photo and that the cat was killed in their bedroom does seem to indicate that they were elsewhere at the time.
The animal cruelty charge is a felony, while child endangerment is only classed as a misdemeanor. Some people may think that the fact that he sent a photo to his children was just as cruel as the act of killing the cat. Even though all charges will be taken into account when he is sentenced, there are people who believe that he should be facing three felony charges. According to WKBW Buffalo, Martin could be facing prison time of up to two years if he is found guilty of these charges. Sources close to the police seem to suggest that he has admitted all the charges, although it is not known what plea he entered at court. There is also the possibility that he could be handed a fine for the animal cruelty charge. This fine could be as much as $25,000.
Until the case is heard in court, there can only be speculation about how much prison time will be served by Martin, if any. Two years is the maximum sentence for the charges he is facing and so he is likely to get less time than this. If the judge wants to make an example of Martin then he could serve up to two years, but on the other hand he might escape a custodial sentence altogether. However, this is unlikely as animal cruelty is something that is taken very seriously by the courts today. In this case, there are also the additional details of the child endangerment charges that will need to be taken into account. Whether or not he will be fined will also be up to the judge along with the amount that this fine will be for.
The news reports that have been made about the story so far have made no mention of whether the mother of the children was living with the family when the incident occurred. If she was around, then the children may still be living with her now. If the mother is no longer in the picture, then it is likely that child services will be involved and there will have to be careful consideration about letting the children return to the care of Martin if he is not jailed.
Research carried out by Fabiosa suggests that only 11% of animal cruelty cases involve an animal being choked to death. Of this percentage, an even smaller number of cases will involve cats. However, cruelty towards cats is one of the most reported animal cruelty crimes, along with dogs, horses and livestock. New York is one of only 41 states where animal cruelty is a felony that is punishable by time in prison, in the other nine states it is only classed as misdemeanor. Many people believe that all states should adopt the policy of prison time being an automatic punishment in all cases of animal cruelty.
Statistics show that animal cruelty rates are higher in states where the punishment is not as severe. This could be because people think that they are more likely to get away with it, but it is still something that causes a lot of outrage when people hear about an animal being abused or even killed. Thankfully, the number of reports of animal cruelty is dropping nationally but any number of cases is seen as too many by animal lovers. There are also cases that go unreported because no one else sees the abuse that the animal suffers. The actions of Antonio Martin on that Saturday night will have repercussions for him and his children for many years to come. We may never find out why he killed the cat in the first place, let alone decided to send a photo of what he had done to his children. Unless he chooses to speak out about his motives, then all people can really do is speculate.