Witness in animal cruelty trial testifies cat was missing after accused entered bathroom with an axe

·2 min read
Velda Tapp/Facebook
Velda Tapp/Facebook

A Crown witness in an animal cruelty case in Port aux Basques testified Wednesday that she saw a cat taken into a bathroom and then saw the two accused go in with an axe and a garbage bag, and when they left, the cat that had been there was nowhere to be found.

The witness, who CBC is not identifying as she fears for her safety, told the court she was partying with her friends — the accused Jody Anderson and Peter Rossiter — in September 2019 at Anderson's apartment in Port aux Basques.

"I saw [Jody Anderson and Peter Rossiter] go into the bathroom with an axe and a garbage bag, and came out with no cat," said the woman.

Anderson and Rossiter are charged in the death of Mittens, a 13-year-old cat.

Anderson, 39, is charged with one count of injuring or endangering an animal and two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. Rossiter, a resident of the Codroy Valley, faces one count of injuring or endangering an animal and one count of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The one-day trial, which took place in Port aux Basques, began with testimony from the arresting officer, Const. Leon Sheppard, who presented two sets of photographs of the alleged crime scene. In them, he pointed to what he believed were blood stains on a bathroom floor.

Under the defence's cross-examination, the officer was asked if the dark red stains were tested to confirm that they were feline blood. Sheppard said they were not.

Under foster care

Velda Pretty, a volunteer with a local cat rescue group, testified Mittens went from the home of its original owner, who died, to Anderson through a fund that rescues stray and pregnant cats so they can be fostered or sheltered until they can be adopted. They also help families who are unable to care for cats any longer.

It was volunteers with the cat rescue group who called the police after word began circulating in Port aux Basques that Mittens had been killed.

Rossiter and Anderson's friend took the stand as the trial's final witness.

Crown attorney Jill Quilty asked the 42-year-old woman about partying that night with the accused.

The witness testified that Anderson and Rossiter took a small axe and an empty bag into the bathroom, where the cat was. She said when the couple came out, there was now something in the bag that Rossiter was carrying, and the cat was no longer in the bathroom.

After Mittens's death, the witness initially told police she knew nothing about any incident involving the cat. Two weeks later, she gave a second statement and said her initial one was false. She said she had lied because she was scared of the accused.

The defence called no witnesses in the trial.

Judge Lynn Cole will deliver her decision Dec. 1.

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