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People call for justice for cat drowned in rural West Lafayette

WARNING: Video content is graphic. The original video was uploaded on November 23rd, but has since been removed.

Posted: Nov 29, 2018 7:10 PM
Updated: Nov 30, 2018 9:23 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind (WLFI) - A video of two people in rural West Lafayette drowning a cat in a body of water is getting attention on social media.

The video was uploaded on November 23rd but has since been removed.

It depicts someone in a black SUV giving the person holding the phone an O-K. The person recording then kicks the trap containing a cat, which had a collar on, into the water. It happened at a small pond just south of Hadley Lake on the property of 52 Mobile Home Estates.

“To see that happen, I cried,” said a woman who was a former renter at the mobile home park. She wishes to remain anonymous for legal reasons. “I cried like a baby and I'm not even going to lie. I couldn’t believe the heartlessness.”

"To dispose of them in this way is unforgivable and it's criminal," said Sharon Dull, who works for North Central Indiana Spay and Neuter.

It was posted by Erik Heat on his Instagram and YouTube pages. News 18 reached out to Heat through Facebook. He said the videos were only found on his pages and that he was not involved in what happened, also that he had cooperated with investigators.

An official complaint was filed with the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Animal Control department on Monday, November 26th, three days after it was originally uploaded.

Ken Baldwin is the owner of 52 Mobile Home Estates. Our anonymous source said she remembered asking Baldwin about the stray cat situation in the neighborhood when she moved in. She recalled him saying that they keep the population under control using live traps.

“He was never very specific about what he did with them,” she said. “I thought he took them to the humane society or a shelter.”

When she saw the video, she recognized the black SUV as Baldwin’s.

"I saw that video and I immediately knew,” she said. “I knew that black truck, that black Chevy truck and just the way his voice sounded, I knew it was Ken."

She also recognized the place where it happened.

“We took our kids fishing in that pond about 30 or 40 times that summer we lived there, it’s the same dock as in the video, it’s the same place,” she said.

Dull said her spay and neuter organization had reached out within the past two or three years to help the mobile home park with stray cat problems.

"We have reached out to this specific trailer park and offered assistance to TNR (Trap Neuter Return) the cats,” she said. “I know of at least three other animal groups who have tried to assist as well."

But she said these attempts to help were always ignored. She also said there are steps the mobile home park could take to limit the amount of abandoned pets that sometimes add to the stray problem.

“They could require the tenants who are pet owners to spay and neuter their pets or they could just ban animals all together,” she said. “They don’t have to allow people to have pets.”

In the state of Indiana it is a Class C felony to intentionally torture an animal. That comes with a fine of up to 10-thousand dollars and the possibility of one and a half years in prison.

"I really hope that justice is served for this cat, not only for this cat but for any other animals,” said our anonymous source. “There is no reason that this should be allowed to happen.”

Dull has a message for anyone who sees animal abuse happen in our area.

"Report it. We have an outstanding prosecutor that is pursuing these cases, our animal control officers are doing an excellent job,” she said. “Report these to WE Tipp or just call animal control.”

News 18 tried, unsuccessfully, to get a comment from Baldwin today. Anyone with information about the video is asked to contact the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department at 765-423-9388.

A black cat with a pink collar that belonged to a family in the Hadley Lake area has recently gone missing. It is not confirmed if the missing cat is the same one that was killed in the video. Anyone who finds the missing cat can contact the WLFI station to be put in contact with the owners.

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