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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Update on Oklahoma teens who beat their two pet cats and posted video on youtube

Two Lawton area teens accused of beating a cat and posting it on YouTube over the weekend will be going through the juvenile justice process in Oklahoma. The 14 and 16-year-old brothers each face two charges of animal cruelty after law enforcement was directed to two videos on Sunday that showed the beating and torture of the grey cat named Dusty, and each video carries separate charges.

During their investigation, the Comanche County Sheriff's Department discovered a third abuse video that shows the beating of a black and white cat - also at a teens' home. The sheriff's department rescued that cat today.

The videos uploaded to YouTube show two separate incidents of animal abuse involving the same cat, and the teens face separate charges for each video. "We filed two counts of animal cruelty on each of the two teenagers today," said Comanche County District Attorney Robert Schulte. "They will be referred to the juvenile court system. We'll expect them to make their appearance early this week before the juvenile judge."

The teenagers have a right to a jury trial, and if they waive that, a judge will decide their fate. Until the two suspects are 18-years-old they are considered juveniles and the court records will be sealed. However, Schulte says he knows there is a lot of public concern over the case, and the court is taking it seriously. "I can tell you that our juvenile judge is a long-standing judge, very conservative, very well thought of, very well respected judge," he said. "He will do what he believes is necessary, and feels best in this case as it goes through the system."

The courts have ensured that the pets will not be abused again. Dusty was removed from the home on Sunday, and the second cat was removed Tuesday. "They have been treated by local veterinarians, they are doing well," said Schulte. "They will not go back into the home, and they are expected to be adopted out into a good home in the next few days."

Schulte says he did not know what punishment the boys may face if found guilty, but said the penalties for a juvenile conviction could include psychological counseling, court monitoring until they turn 18, community service to provide restitution for treatment of animals, and/or placement in court custody. 

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