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NJ Man Sentenced to Over Four Years in Prison for Killing Pet Cat

Howell Township

By: Jeff Sommes 

A Howell Township resident, Christopher Sanchez, 29, has been sentenced to a prison term of four years and six months for the intentional killing of his pet cat.AdThe sentencing, conducted by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Scott C. Arnette, came after an investigation into the incident, which started on March 31, 2023.

Howell Township Police Department, while attending to an unrelated matter, discovered the deceased cat outside Sanchez's residence. 

The joint investigation by the Howell Township Police and the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Humane Law Enforcement Division revealed shocking details.

The cat, named Lilith, was owned by Sanchez, who gruesomely ended its life using a sharp instrument. He even recorded the act in both photos and videos.

Sanchez was arrested on the day the police initially responded to the scene. Since then, he has been held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution.AdIn December 2023, he pleaded guilty to third-degree Animal Cruelty by unnecessarily or cruelly abusing a living animal, resulting in its death, and to Simple Assault, a lesser offense.

The latter charge was due to Sanchez assaulting his roommate soon after the cat's killing.

The court's sentence extends beyond prison time. Judge Arnette outlined additional mandates for Sanchez, including a no-contact order with the assault victim, a prohibition from returning to the crime scene, and a requirement to surrender all privately owned firearms.

He is also compelled to complete 30 days of community service, faces a permanent ban on owning or residing with any pets or animals, and must pay $525 in restitution.

This amount covers the necropsy costs that refuted his initial claim that the cat's death was a mercy killing due to injuries from being hit by a vehicle.