SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts

Tippecanoe County man avoids jail time for role in cat drowning caught on video

Walter Kenneth Baldwin pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to all counts.

Posted: Oct 15, 2019 1:40 PM
Updated: Oct 16, 2019 6:19 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — A Tippecanoe County man will serve no time behind bars for trapping and drowning a cat. 

Walter Kenneth Baldwin pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to all counts. Baldwin is sentenced to six months in community corrections and 1.5 years of suspended supervised probation. Baldwin also owes a $2,500 fine. 

As we previously reported, a video was posted on social media in November 2018 showing a cat trapped inside a cage on the deck of a pond. Baldwin is seen in the video smoking a cigar in his car. The person filming asks Baldwin "You ready?" Baldwin replies, "Go for it." That person then kicked the cage with the cat inside into the water. The video ends by showing the cage falling to the bottom of the pond until it disappeared.

The cat inside the cage was trapped at 52 Mobile Home Estates, a mobile home park owned by Baldwin. The cat in the video was wearing a collar, which the state argued is an assumption that it is domestic, and not feral. 

During Tuesday's hearing News 18 learned a fisherman later recovered the cage with the cat inside long after the incident. The cat was found dead. 

Baldwin had a large group of supporters during Tuesday's trial. Seven people took the stand to defend him. Here's some of the statements they made:

"He's very generous." 

"[Baldwin] is a good person. He's helped out a lot of people over the years."

"You couldn't meet a better person."

"The cat thing is totally out of his character."

"I've never seen him be violent."

"This ain't his character."

Baldwin's attorney also asked if they were aware of the cat issues at 52 Mobile Home Estates. Every person said yes. 

The state argued that although there is a feral cat problem at the mobile home park, Baldwin refused all offers to help. 

Seth Kirkendall, Animal Control Officer at the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office, testified in Tuesday's hearing. He told the courtroom about the first time he met Baldwin. 

Kirkendall met Baldwin at 52 Mobile Home Estates to talk about chickens that were running around the property. While he was there, he said Baldwin asked him for suggestions on how to fix the feral cat problem.

Kirkendall said he and Baldwin were having a great conversation until he explained some options on how to get rid of the cats.

"He then told me to get the (expletive) off his property," Kirkendall explained. "So I left."

Sharon Dull took the stand with a similar story. Dull works with Crystal Creek Kennels and serves on the Tippecanoe County Animal Advisory Board.

Dull said she approached Baldwin at 52 Mobile Home Estates with informational flyers. She offered to help with the feral cat problem, free of charge.

She says Baldwin also told her to "Get the (expletive) off my property." Dull said she left immediately. 

The judge expressed her concerns with the several occasions Baldwin refused any help. 

Baldwin read a letter out loud to the court room, apologizing for his behavior. "I'm sorry," he began. Baldwin went on to explain he specifically wanted to apologize to the juvenile he convinced to drown the cat. "It's inexcusable," he said. 

The judge mentioned, "As a parent, I'd be spittin' mad if [the child involved] was mine." 

The name of the 17-year-old boy who filmed the video will not be released.

Baldwin was charged with five felonies in November last year. Before this, the 70-year-old had no criminal history.

Those charges are:

-Conspiracy to commit torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal

-Conspiracy to commit killing a domestic animal

-Torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal

-Killing a domestic animal

-Contributing to the delinquency of a minor

However, in Tuesday's hearing, the judge dropped two charges of conspiracy to commit torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal and torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal.

As a part of Baldwin's sentence, he cannot possess any animals and is ordered to surrender all firearms within 48 hours. He is also required to undergo a psychological evaluation and go through any recommended counseling.

West Lafayette
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
Kokomo
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 73°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Williamsport
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 74°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Logansport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 72°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50300

Reported Deaths: 2748
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11920692
Lake5432248
Elkhart347058
Allen2902133
St. Joseph205169
Hamilton1665101
Cass16449
Hendricks1446100
Johnson1325118
Porter80238
Tippecanoe7599
Clark68144
Vanderburgh6816
Madison67264
LaPorte60527
Howard59458
Bartholomew59345
Kosciusko5704
Marshall5308
Noble50128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4783
Boone47444
Delaware46952
Hancock46036
Shelby43525
Floyd40444
Morgan33631
Monroe32928
Grant30926
Dubois2976
Henry29717
Montgomery29720
Clinton2893
White26810
Decatur25532
Dearborn25423
Lawrence25225
Vigo2478
Warrick24329
Harrison21722
Greene19332
Miami1922
Jennings17912
Putnam1728
DeKalb1674
Scott1639
Wayne1536
Daviess15017
Perry1459
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1332
Franklin1278
Ripley1277
Wabash1152
Carroll1132
Gibson1132
Fayette1057
Whitley1045
Newton10010
Starke983
Huntington932
Randolph794
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington681
Knox670
Clay665
Pulaski661
Rush613
Posey550
Owen521
Benton510
Spencer501
Adams491
Sullivan471
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Tipton321
Switzerland300
Martin240
Parke230
Ohio220
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events