A cat dies, a sceptic is born
FACED with the realisation that her pet cat had died after a grim encounter with a pastor, a five-year-old Central Texas girl – on being told that her pet, Moody, was now “in heaven” – declared:
Moody died after falling, or having been thrown off a 40ft-high bridge by Rick Bartlett, pastor of the Bastrop Christian Church. He now faces a charge of animal cruelty which could result in a $4,000 dollar fine and a year’s imprisonment.
He trapped the child’s pet in a cage after having had trouble with feral cats in his garden. He then placed Moody in his pick-up truck, where it was “forgotten” for three days.
The pastor then drove the cat to the police.
An animal protection officer noticed a name tag, including the phone number of Moody’s owners, Sarah and Eddy Bell, on the cat’s collar. The officer offered to take Moody back to his owners but police said Bartlett told them he’d take the cat back himself since they were his neighbours.
Later on the same day, a park visitor discovered Moody’s near lifeless body on the bank of the Colorado River, some 40-50 feet below the bridge.
There is a possibility that the animal had jumped from the truck, rather than having been thrown, but but in the eyes of the law, the animal cruelty charges are the same since Bartlett admitted to police that the animal was in his care.
Moody was Sarah and Eddy Bell’s cat for 11 years. They said that trying to explain his death to their daughter has proved “challenging”.
Update: The heartless pastor was later sentenced to a year of probation for animal cruelty.
County-at-law Judge Terry Flenniken gave Bartlett a six-month jail sentence, then suspended it. He also ordered Bartlett to perform 50 hours of community service. Bartlett did not comment after the sentencing.
Hat tip: Remigius