A New Jersey man has been sentenced to five years in prison for the torture-killing of 19 cats. 50-year old Anthony Appolonia of Aberdeen township received the maximum sentence for animal cruelty in Freehold's Superior Court after a court-order psychological evaluation report described his "compulsive behavior". Appolonia acquired the cats by answering ads for free kittens and even searching neighbourhoods for stray cats. Appolonia reportedly tortured and drowned the cats afterward. During the psychological evaluation, he justified his actions by stating that he killed the cats after they bit or scratched him and that he was under stress due to his poor job and family situation.
In handing down his sentence, Superior Court Judge Edward Neafsey said ""The court doesn't accept these problems as an excuse or as a factor to be considered in defense of the defendant's actions. He was exercising life-or-death control and power over defenseless animals." In addition to serving his sentence, Appolonia will be required to serve 40 hours of community service and will be banned from owning animals or being in the presence of a cat without supervision. He will also be required to seek treatment.
Many of the pet owners from which Appolonia had acquired the cats were in the courtroom when the sentence was handed down. One stated afterward, ""It's the best that could be done. We can't bring the animals back."