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2 teens accused of kitten burning
15-year-old girls to be charged with felony animal cruelty in SR attack on feral cat

  • Adam, a stray who was burned alive last month in Santa Rosa, is recovering at Animal Hospital of Cotati. (MARK ARONOFF / The Press Democrat)

Two 15-year-old girls will face charges in Juvenile Court today in connection with a kitten's being burned alive in Santa Rosa's Apple Valley neighborhood, authorities said Monday.

The proceedings for the girls, whose names were withheld, are closed to the public by state law.

"We will fully prosecute this case of animal cruelty to ensure that those responsible are held accountable," District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua said in a written statement announcing the arrests.

Arrest warrants were issued Thursday for the girls after animal control officers forwarded their investigation to prosecutors. Both girls were arrested Friday on suspicion of felony animal cruelty, which could result in up to three years' confinement, Passalacqua said.

Dori Villalon, director of Sonoma County Animal Care and Control, declined Monday to speculate on a motive for the burning. Asked whether authorities believe anyone else may have been involved in the attack, Villalon said animal control officers are not searching for more suspects.

"Unless new information comes forward, our investigation is concluded," she said.

She also defended the pace of the investigation.

"The public has been concerned and frankly, outraged, but really the investigation was done promptly," she said.

The kitten, which has since been given the name Adam, is recovering at Animal Hospital of Cotati. He is scheduled for another surgery Wednesday to lift skin from his stomach to help cover other areas of his body that were singed, said Tina Wright, the hospital's lead nurse.

She said Adam is no longer on pain medications between surgeries. She said when he's at home with her at night, he bats toys around, pulls curtains and generally acts like a normal kitten.

"He doesn't know how bad it is," she said.

Adam was among six feral kittens and an adult cat that were trapped June 19 by a resident and were to be spayed and neutered by Forgotten Felines.

None of the other kittens has been found.

The resident, who was working independently of Forgotten Felines, left the caged animals unattended overnight outside his apartment and two of the cages containing the kittens were taken.

A reward of $8,000 was offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Villalon said Monday that someone is going to be able to claim the reward.

You can reach Staff Writer Derek J. Moore at 521-5336 or derek.moore@pressdemocrat.com.

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