Hanging Rascell: New York Man Arrested for Hanging Girlfriend’s Cat — and Videotaping Himself in the Act

3nf3k43m15O35P25Rd9b3df75c5522d8c1b5a180px-Olhos_de_um_gato-3In Syracuse, New York, Rascell Williams is looking at a curious charge for a horrible crime. Williams, 28, is charged with hanging his girlfriend’s four-month-old kitten with a belt and making a video of the animal struggling. It was discovered by the girlfriend, Joanne Cichy, the day after Halloween and turned over the police.

Cichy says that she found the images on her digital camera showing the kitten struggling before going motionless. The video shows Williams stepping in and out of the video. The kitten was later found under the porch alive later.

Williams can obviously be sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress. It is the criminal charge that is interesting. It is unjustifiable animal cruelty. “Unjustifiable” animal cruelty seems to suggest that there is justifiable animal cruelty. Yet, it is a charge raised in other cases, here and here. The New York code does have one provision referring to unjustifiable injury to animals:

353. Overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance
A person who overdrives, overloads, tortures or cruelly beats or unjustifiably injures, maims, mutilates or kills any animal, whether wild or tame, and whether belonging to himself or to another, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, food or drink, or neglects or refuses to furnish it such sustenance or drink, or causes, procures or permits any animal to be overdriven, overloaded, tortured, cruelly beaten, or unjustifiably injured, maimed, mutilated or killed, or to be deprived of necessary food or drink, or who wilfully sets on foot, instigates, engages in, or in any way furthers any act of cruelty to any animal, or any act tending to produce such cruelty, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both.

Nothing herein contained shall be construed to prohibit or interfere with any properly conducted scientific tests, experiments or investigations, involving the use of living animals, performed or conducted in laboratories or institutions, which are approved for these purposes by the state commissioner of health. The state commissioner of health shall prescribe the rules under which such approvals shall be granted, including therein standards regarding the care and treatment of any such animals. Such rules shall be published and copies thereof conspicuously posted in each such laboratory or institution. The state commissioner of health or his duly authorized representative shall have the power to inspect such laboratories or institutions to insure compliance with such rules and standards. Each such approval may be revoked at any time for failure to comply with such rules and in any case the approval shall be limited to a period not exceeding one year.

Either way, of course, he fits this definition from any number of ways. The cat proved to have more lives but he is likely to be less fortunate.

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8 thoughts on “Hanging Rascell: New York Man Arrested for Hanging Girlfriend’s Cat — and Videotaping Himself in the Act”

  1. Animal abuse is just the beginning. Obviously this “waste of human flesh” poor excuse for a man has psych issues to have to attempt to harm/kill a defensless kitten to get back at his girlfriend. Our judicial system should make animal abuse a felony, and maybe people would think twice. Many people would argue this is too harsh, or inhumane- what about what is inhumane to the animal? And what about the people who eventually turn to abusing people or children. Should we then say, well- now that hes moved onto children, now its unacceptable and we should arrest him? Should we “let it go” until people go too far? When will it stop? I personally believe an eye for an eye, animals or humans, but we have too many tree huggers in this country for that to happen. Our system protects the criminal. Ship these people to countries that don’t tolerate things like this.

  2. Guest,

    First, your opinion and therefore, not fact, in re the use of language. That you have no issue with poor wording is your problem. Exactly your problem. I bet you’re the kind of person who calls a mole a beauty mark.

    Second, I know exactly what ex post facto means. I also know that retroactive application is only one component. A law targeting a specific person is also a component. That the MORONS in Massachusetts wrote a vague law open to a challenge of being ex post facto is not my doing. Take it up with them.

    Third, I call people who act like morons, duh, morons. You don’t like it? Don’t read my posts. I promise, it won’t hurt my feelings. You from Massachusetts? Too bad. Elect better lawmakers. I live in Kansas and the morons here keep electing that Neocon tool Pat Roberts to the Senate (although he is thankfully stepping down after this term). Feel free to insult Kansans all you like. Unlike you, I’ll pick something better to be offended by. The morons in Florida let Bush and his brother steal an election but I have friends, friends who post here whose opinions I both value and seek, who live in Florida. That doesn’t mean the rest of the state isn’t populated with morons or that they take it personally when I call out their fellow statesmen for moronic behavior. Indeed, they are often right beside me decrying said behavior. Act stupid, get treated stupid. You got a problem with that? Get smart. Unless you are personally responsible for drafting a poorly worded statute then all your outrage is just lip flapping, isn’t it? So drop the fake outrage. Massachusetts collectively is just as stupid as every other state, but each are stupid in their own particular ways. Too bad you didn’t get the memo that you don’t have to be smart to run for public office and, in fact, that the existing campaign finance system encourages the stupid and easily manipulated to run as that is what the corporations are willing to foot the bill for.

  3. Buddha,

    Where, oh where, to begin.

    First, your claims about this being a “retardation of law by bad and/or euphemistic language” is flat wrong. The charge is titled “unjustifiable” harm to an animal because there may be circumstances where an animal was harmed by a particular human action, but where such action was not meant to be harmful and the harm is thus “justifiable.” For instance, assume a farmer yolks his cattle to pull a stump (a practice still widely used in upstate farm country), and one of the cattle breaks a leg. As long as the animal was not being overburdened, overloaded, or overdriven, this would be — as unfortunate for the animal as it may be — a justifiable harm to the animal.

    Second, before you go calling the residents of Massachusetts morons, you should know what the Ex Post Facto clause is. A law generally does not violate the Ex Post Facto clause unless it aims to have retroactive effect, and tries to render conduct illegal that was legal when it was actually committed. Passing a law in response to a particular situation does not violate the Ex Post Facto clause; indeed, nearly all laws are passed in response to a particular unfortunate situation (e.g., Meghan’s Law). So long as the the law is forward looking — in the case of the cat lady, so long as the law only regulates her conduct from the point of passage forward, and does not seek to criminalize her conduct engaged in before the law was passed — then the law is fine.

  4. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33616410/ns/us_news-weird_news/

    What exactly is it that Americans have against cats?

    The story linked is about a Mass. town that enacted a law saying if you own more than 4 cats you need a kennel license. This law was enacted in response to a feud with a specific citizen. Can you Massachusetts morons spell “ex post facto”? I hope she has the money to take this to the top because it WILL NOT withstand constitutional scrutiny.

  5. Dredd brings up the very salient point that those who would hang a cat for entertainment would do the same to a person with little or no provocation. Animal torture is indeed how most serial killers cut their teeth.

  6. This is a moment to teach this person.

    Statistics show he is headed for a future of cruelty that will eventually transfer to fellow humans.

    “Sentence” him to therapy or society will be sentenced to his future morph into cruelty of the human torture type.

  7. Justified?

    Then I guess I’d be justified in just kicking the crap out this inhuman POS, wouldn’t I? I’m still not up to speed, but I’d get out of bed to smack this clown around.

    What a ridiculous charge. The only thing worse than absence of law is the retardation of law by bad and/or euphemistic language. This is a perfect example. Cruelty, by its very nature, is never justified under any reasonable belief system let alone against a defenseless animal.

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