Man Serves Time for Torching Cat

An animal abuser could spend nearly two years behind bars after being sentenced for setting a cat on fire in Philadelphia.

Tyrique Hall was sentenced to 11-1/2 to 23 months in prison with two years of probation and fines of nearly $2,400 for torching a cat in the Olney section of the city last November, according to court records

Authorities say that Hall and 18-year-old Jose Sanchez set a cat on fire back on Nov. 10. A woman told officials she spotted the cat on fire running down 3rd Street towards Wellens Avenue. The woman also claimed she spotted Hall and Sanchez at the intersection and heard one of the men say, “I put a lot of fluid on it.”

The cat, named Campbell, was found at Wellens Avenue. It suffered from severe burns on 60 to 75 percent of his body and underwent two surgeries.

Part of Hall's punishment for animal cruelty, criminal conspiracy and possession of an accelerant includes him being excluded from owning pets for seven years.

"This sentence is a victory not just for one cat, but for all animals that face senseless and horrific cruelty," said Pennsylvania SPCA CEO Jerry Buckley. "It says that an animal's life is worthy of protection. Sending Tyrique Hall to jail for his actions is an appropriate punishment that we hope will serve as a deterrent to others."

Sanchez was already convicted of conspiracy and animal cruelty and is serving two years of probation.

After recovering at Penn Vet's Hospital in University City, Campbell was adopted by Philadelphia firefighter Stephen Paslawski.

Officials notified Campbell's owner, Madelyn Rivera, who said the adopted cat ran away from her home last summer. Rivera had the cat microchipped which is how officials were able to identify her as the owner.

(Pictured: 21-year-old Tyrique Hall)

Rivera was thrilled when the SPCA told her they had found him. But her joy quickly turned to horror when they told her what happened.

"I'm hearing, 'Hey, we found Campbell,'" Rivera said. "I'm like, 'Oh, great!' And then it was bad news. What would possess someone to go and light a cat on fire?" 

Investigators say surveillance video from a store near where Campbell was found captured Hall and Sanchez.

SPCA officers arrested both men last November.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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