Judges uphold felony conviction for kicking cat

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed an Allen County man’s conviction of Class D felony torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, finding sufficient evidence that the man knowingly or intentionally mutilated a cat that somehow got into his house.

Larry Knox tried to get the cat out by opening the front door and kicking it outside. He kicked the cat so hard that it knocked out the cat’s front tooth, causing it to go flying out of its mouth. The cat then ran into the bedroom, where he chased it and kicked it a couple more times. Then Knox called animal control.

Knox told the animal control officer that he didn’t like cats and that he was not threatened by the cat. He even joked how far the tooth had flown from the cat. A veterinarian who examined the cat said it would take a lot of force to knock out the tooth and the cat must have been sitting or crouched down when the incident occurred. Based on the cat’s behavior, the veterinarian and animal control officer concluded she was not feral.

Knox argued that he kicked the cat only after it “came straight at me,” but he was found guilty and sentenced to one year in the Department of Correction.

In Larry D. Knox v. State of Indiana, 02A03-1312-CR-491, the Court of Appeals noted that the mens rea element of I.C. 35-46-3-12(c), under which Knox was found guilty, has not been addressed by an Indiana appellate court yet. But it’s been well established that a person engages in conduct intentionally if, when he engages in the conduct, it is his conscious objective to do so. And engaging in conduct “knowingly” occurs when the person is aware of a high probability that he is engaging in the conduct.

The evidence most favorable to the judgment shows that Knox knowingly or intentionally mutilated the cat. The judges declined to reweigh the evidence, noting they are in no position to challenge the fact-finder’s assessment of Knox’s credibility on appeal.  


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