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Press Release

For Immediate Release: January 12, 2012
Contact: ALISON GRASHEIM, or (202) 240-1985; FRANCIE ISRAELI, or (202) 207-1134

Officer charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty for violent beating death of cat

BETHESDA, MD— Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, today thanked Marsha Garst, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, for bringing a charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty against Officer J.N. Snoddy of the Harrisonburg police force.

“We are pleased that this vicious act of cruelty will be prosecuted,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies.

The charge follows an investigation by the Virginia State Police of a November incident in which Snoddy was accused of violently beating a cat to death with his baton when he responded to a local citizen’s call for help after the cat was hit by a car. At the time, Alley Cat Allies noted that Snoddy’s alleged actions were a violation of both police department policy and Virginia Commonwealth law, and called for an investigation.

“We thank our supporters for contacting the city in the wake of this crime, as we know their letters helped to instigate the Virginia State Police investigation,” said Robinson. “Though Officer Snoddy has been placed on administrative leave, we renew our call that he be immediately dismissed from the Harrisonburg Police Department. His alleged actions make him unfit for police duty.”

The officer violated police department policy by not attempting to ascertain ownership before killing the cat, using deadly force against the cat as a first option, and failing to explore any alternatives before violently beating the cat to death.

In a letter sent to Harrisonburg’s Mayor Baugh in November, Alley Cat Allies noted that “the beating is beyond any law enforcement officer’s responsible behavior and constitutes a clear case of animal cruelty.”


About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 260,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Their web site is