An Athens man was recently sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to charges that he placed a cat in a dog’s cage to watch it be killed.
In addition to aggravated animal cruelty, 21-year-old Jahmal Anthony Swaby pleaded guilty to threatening a witness who had called police to report the cat was being killed at Swaby’s home on Conrad Drive. He also pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm and theft by receiving stolen property.
Western Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge David Sweat on May 28 sentenced Swaby to eight years in prison and 12 years on probation. The sentencing order signed by the judge indicates that Swaby’s penalty did not result from a negotiated plea agreement.
Codefendant Trevaughn Miquan Thomas, 21, previously pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges. His case is still pending in Clarke County Superior Court. According to Athens-Clarke County police, Conrad Drive residents reported Sept. 30 that they were in their home and heard a cat in distress. Going outside to investigate, they told police, they saw the cat in a cage outside Swaby’s and Thomas’ home being chased around by a dog.
One of the witnesses described the cat as “running around inside the dog cage screaming for its life,” according to police, and said Swaby and Thomas were urging the dog to “get it.” The suspects reportedly laughed each time a witness yelled for them to stop.
One of the witnesses said that after calling 911, she saw the cat was “running for its life while injured,” according to police. Police said when officers arrived the cat was dead and the dog was still biting the carcass. One officer noted in an incident report that the caged dog appeared to be “angry” and “was biting and jumping towards me.”
The officer further noted that there were several other young cats in the yard that appeared to have come from the same litter of kittens.
According to police, one of the witnesses reported that when Swaby later walked past her home, he pointed two fingers “similar in shape of a gun.” The woman told police she believed Swaby meant to “threaten or intimidate her.”
During the subsequent investigation, police said Swaby was found to be in possession of a stolen revolver. He was not supposed to have firearms under the terms of his first-offender probation from a 2013 burglary conviction.
Source: Online Athens