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
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 51°
Kokomo
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 44°
Rensselaer
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 46°
Fowler
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 46°
Williamsport
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 46°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Frankfort
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 52°
Delphi
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 51°
Monticello
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 44°
Logansport
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 44°
Dry and Cool for Remainder of Weekend.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 160454

Reported Deaths: 4118
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25691791
Lake14023358
St. Joseph9399165
Elkhart9026137
Allen8424230
Hamilton6293114
Vanderburgh601161
Tippecanoe383615
Hendricks3337133
Porter332350
Monroe330338
Johnson3207129
Delaware303474
Clark300763
Vigo268740
Madison244996
LaPorte231760
Cass226922
Warrick199565
Kosciusko193727
Floyd183968
Howard167066
Bartholomew145358
Dubois142726
Marshall142726
Wayne135331
Grant129739
Henry129730
Boone126950
Hancock122344
Noble119135
Jackson116417
Dearborn100028
Morgan97440
Lawrence94037
Gibson91512
Daviess90234
Clinton88916
Shelby87231
LaGrange82115
Knox79510
Harrison78324
Putnam75616
Posey7556
DeKalb74511
Fayette73218
Jasper6435
Miami6425
Steuben6408
Montgomery60422
White59915
Greene55838
Scott53413
Decatur51739
Adams5107
Whitley4696
Ripley4668
Clay4567
Sullivan45214
Wells44211
Starke4328
Wabash4329
Huntington4215
Orange41725
Spencer4046
Washington3843
Franklin37925
Jennings37313
Randolph37210
Fulton3714
Jefferson3455
Pike34018
Perry33314
Carroll33213
Jay3256
Fountain3193
Tipton28023
Vermillion2601
Parke2464
Blackford2313
Newton23011
Rush2254
Owen2101
Martin2010
Crawford1601
Pulaski1602
Brown1463
Ohio1317
Union1120
Benton1090
Switzerland960
Warren891
Unassigned0236

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