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Press Release

For Immediate Release: July 30, 2012
Contact: CARLA DAVIS, or (240) 482-3887; FRANCIE ISRAELI, or (202) 207-1134

Officer was convicted of animal cruelty in March after violent beating death of injured cat

BETHESDA, MD— Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, today expressed shock and disappointment at a decision by a special prosecutor in Page County, Va. to dismiss on appeal the conviction of a Harrisonburg police officer who had been found guilty of animal cruelty in March for the beating death of an injured stray cat.

The officer, J.N. Snoddy, had been accused of viciously beating the injured cat to death with his nightstick on the porch of a resident’s home, and was convicted of animal cruelty. According to news reports, he admitted to “hitting the cat with a nightstick three to four times.” The officer had been called to the home following a report of the cat being hit by a car.

“We appreciate that this officer was investigated and then prosecuted, but in reality he received an anemic punishment for a heinous crime, and now even that punishment has been vacated,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies.

“Officer Snoddy’s actions were witnessed by at least one resident. The officer violated Harrisonburg Police Department policy by not trying to ascertain ownership of the cat, by using deadly force as the first option, and by failing to explore humane alternatives. The officer also violated state law by brutally beating the cat to death—a crime that made him eligible for up to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine,” she added.

Robinson said she questioned the special prosecutor’s reasoning for abandoning the conviction against Snoddy under appeal.

“There were procedures supposedly in place before this incident to prevent this, yet this cruelty still occurred. We would like to hear from officials what specific procedural changes they’ve made since this incident to ensure that it never happens again,” Robinson said.


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