A man and a woman have pleaded no contest to animal cruelty and drug charges after deputies searched a suspicious car parked in back of a shopping center and found heroin and a cat whose paws and legs were tightly bound with electrical tape.
The story made national news after two alert Santa Clarita Valley deputies found the small tabby immobilized by tape wrapped around each paw and used to bind its legs together. The deputies were searching the car when they heard a faint crying noise and discovered the cat inside an upside down pet crate, according to NBC News. Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Halloran told reporters he heard the sound of a cat in distress. “I asked one of the suspects, ‘Is there a cat in the car?’ and she said yes,” Halloran said, referring to Kylie Stringer, 26, one of the two occupants of the car. When he asked Stringer why the cat was wrapped in tape, he was told it was to stop it from scratching.
The cat was first identified as Lilly, but is now being called Oreo. Her former owners face jail time and probation. Tyler Scott Vest, 23, a carpenter from Valencia and Stringer, 26, a caregiver from Canyon Country, will likely be ordered to undergo animal cruelty counseling, according to the City News Service. Vest pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of cruelty to an animal and a felony count of possession for sale of a controlled substance. He faces one year in county jail and three years’ probation, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Stringer is facing three years of probation for her plea to one misdemeanor count each of cruelty to an animal and possession of a controlled substance, Santiago told NBC Channel Four. The couple was arrested on Sunday December 10 and entered their pleas on the following Wednesday.
The 9-month-old spayed tabby is recovering well in the care of a private veterinarian, Castaic Animal Shelter Manager Karen Stepp, according to the City News Service. “It seems to be doing pretty well, under the circumstances, and is in good spirits,” she said.