Kenny Rowles, 27, of 407½ E. Main St. is charged with torturing the cat after he was allegedly observed “fishing for cats” along East Main Street last month. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals officers took out a warrant Tuesday, and Rowles turned himself in Tuesday afternoon.
“The charges we did file against him were torture. Torture is prolonged pain and not providing vet care, and the wound was infected. He was in pretty bad shaped, the cat,” Humane Society Police Officer Lisa Devlin said. “It was very harmful to the cat, so I’m thankful that the justice system will step in now and we’ll get justice.”
Rowles declined to comment and left the courtroom in tears after Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker ordered him jailed on $100,000 bail.
According to the complaint, the SPCA began an investigation April 8 after Brenda Buckler, of the Whiskers Wold cat rescue, reported neighbors had seen injured cats in the area of the 400 block of East Main Street.
The neighbors, Samantha Coine and Britney Miskewicz, told investigators Rowles had said he was “fishing for cats,” according to the complaint. They provided pictures of a cat with a string hanging out of its mouth and extending down the length of its body.
Devlin confronted Rowles at his home, and he admitted to tying scraps of meat to string and fishing line, which he then dangled from his back porch to “feed and play with the cats,” according to the charges.
When Devlin informed him at least one cat was wandering around with string hanging out of its mouth, Rowles began to cry and asked if he was in trouble, the complaint says.
During a subsequent interview with police, Rowles admitted baiting the cat with a treble hook, according to the charges.
Happy Hearts & Tails cat rescue responded to the scene and was able to trap one cat that had string and a treble fishing hook embedded in its mouth, according to the charges.
While there were initial reports that other cats were seen with fishing line coming from their mouths, Devlin said Tuesday that authorities found only the one injured cat, Tollie.
Pittston-based veterinarian Dr. Inayat Kathio performed emergency surgery on Tollie, which he said had hooks in his mouth, tongue and throat that caused abscesses. He estimated Tollie was on the brink of death when he was rescued.
Devlin said Tollie has been improving since the surgery.
“He’s doing very well. He’s doing much better than what he was,” Devlin said. “He’s in a cat rescue right now — foster care.”