Pastor Charged with Animal Cruelty

Rick Bartlett, the pastor of the Bastrop Christian Church in Bastrop. Tex., was having a problem with feral cats in his garden. At least, that's...

 |  Jan 27th 2012  |   44 Contributions


Moody the cat died after being left in a pastor's truck for three days and somehow ending up in a ditch below a bridge. Image: Screen capture from KVUE-TV video

Rick Bartlett, the pastor of the Bastrop Christian Church in Bastrop. Tex., was having a problem with feral cats in his garden.

At least, that's what he told the cops when he brought Moody, locked in a cage trap, to police on Jaunary 17.

But one look at the orange tabby, who was wearing a collar with his family's names and contact information, would have made it obvious that this kitty was anything but feral. I guess Bartlett didn't notice that little detail, though, because he hoisted Moody into the back of his pickup truck and somehow managed to forget about the cat for three days.

Three days!

Three days in the back of a truck, without food, water, or shelter.

That cat was treated in a way that would be a violation of the Geneva Conventions if it had been done to a person.

In any case, the animal control officer who greeted Bartlett at the police station did notice Moody's tag and offered to take the cat home. But oh no, Bartlett said, the cat belonged to his neighbors so he'd take the cat back himself.

Somewhere along the way, Moody found himself ejected from Bartlett's truck and over a bridge. Later that day, a passerby discovered the cat's near-lifeless body by a riverbank almost 50 feet below that bridge.

Although Moody was rushed to a vet, he died as a result of his ordeal.

It's not clear whether Bartlett threw Moody out of his truck or if the cat freaked out and tried to escape. But whatever happened, Bartlett is facing animal cruelty charges because the cat was in his care when the tragedy happened.

As for the Bell family, who loved their 11-year-old feline, they're facing another kind of tragedy, too.

"[My 5-year-old daughter] asked me where Moody is now and I said, Baby, hes in Heaven, Sarah Bell told KVUE-TV. She knows the man who did this is a pastor at the Bastrop Christian Church and she said, I dont believe in Heaven anymore, Moodys just dead.

Congratulations, Pastor Bartlett. What an exemplar of God's love you are.

"Jesus said that the past should be left to bury its own dead and thus be finished with it," you write in your blog. "No postmortems wanted or allowed. They are bad psychology and rotten religion ... rejoice in His promises of deliverance and renewal from wrongs suffered and caused."

You know what else Jesus said? As you do unto the least of these my brothers,you do unto me. (Matthew 25:40)

Pastor Bartlett, you may think your religion will miraculously absolve you of this grievous sin, but even if you're convicted of animal cruelty (which is only a misdemeanor in Texas), your real judgment is gonna come later on.

Our religious beliefs, whatever they may be, are supposed to guide us to a path of kindness and compassion. They're supposed to help us understand that we are accountable for our actions, not to allow us to be all, "Oh, I'm bathed in the blood of Jesus, and I'm going to heaven no matter what!"

Pastor Bartlett, you should be ashamed of yourself. You caused the death of an innocent cat, broke a little girl's heart and destroyed her faith in God, and gave Christians everywhere a bad name. I've got a message for you, dude:

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