Take Action to Urge Punishment in Cat Cruelty Case


WARNING: The following post discusses an act of animal cruelty in a recent Bronx cat killing and the action you can take to urge that justice be served.

Recently, in the Bronx, 17-year-old Cheyenne Cherry (pictured above) was arrested for torturing and killing a kitten (below, right) in what she described as an act of revenge against an ex-roommate. It was a particularly heinous act for which the accused has shown no remorse. According to published reports, Cherry confessed to the crime and allegedly told investigators “I hate cats.” Cherry dismissed the murder as a “practical joke.” Click here for details of the case.

Incredibly, despite a criminal record, Cherry was released without bail.

Cherry has a history of violence that appears to be escalating. In June 2008 she was arrested for larceny and extortion in an armed dognapping. She and her boyfriend held up a woman walking her dog at gunpoint, stole the dog, then sent friends to claim the $500 reward. The victim, Johan Castro, said, “They wonder why this little girl doesn’t learn right from wrong. “If she’s willing to kill a cat and steal my dog, what else will she do? She thinks she can beat the system.”

Last year Cherry was also arrested for robbing a man of his iPod at gunpoint. “It was just a joke,” Cherry claimed, after her arrest. She pleaded guilty to robbery and got five years probation. In 2007 she was arrested for assault.

Sounds like an unrepentant sociopath to me.

Please send letters to the following authorities, urging that Cherry be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that she is sentenced to mandatory psychological counseling and maximum jail time if she is convicted.

Robert T. Johnson, Bronx District Attorney

The Office of the Bronx County District Attorney
198 East 161st Street; Bronx, NY 10451
ph: 718-590-2000, 718-590-2312; fax: 718-590-2198
email: angueirl@bronxda.nyc.gov

Steven Reed, Director of Public Information

The Office of the Bronx County District Attorney
198 East 161st Street; Bronx, NY 10451
ph: 718-590-2235, 718-590-2234

Joe McCormack, Assistant District Attorney

Bronx County District Attorney’s Office
198 East 161st Street; Bronx, New York 10451
ph: 718-590-2000, 718-590-2026; fax: 718-781-1129
email: mccormaj@bronxda.nyc.gov

Nancy Borko, Senior Assistant District Attorney
Bronx District Attorney’s Office
215 East 161st Street; Bronx, NY 10451-3511
ph: 718-838-7114

Maria T. Rivero, Administrative Assistant District Attorney

Anthony Girese, Counsel to the District Attorney

Bronx County District Attorney’s Office
198 East 161st Street; Bronx, New York 10451
ph: 718-590-2175; fax: 718-992-0545
email: giresea@bronxda.nyc.gov

Judge Dennis J. Boyle

G Correspondence Clerk
Bronx Supreme Court Criminal Division
851 Grand Concourse, Room 123
Bronx, NY 10451

The animal welfare organization Kinship Circle has provided the following sample letter. We strongly encourage modifying this letter to include your own thoughts and feelings, as opposed to simply copying and pasting, as it loses some impact when a prosecutor receives hundreds of identical letters. Also, where feasible, send a hard copy of the letter vs. an email for maximum impact.

Dear _________,

Thank you for recognizing public concern in the case of Tiger Lily, a kitten scorched alive inside an oven on May 6, 2009. I understand Cheyenne Cherry, 17, is charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty, burglary, arson, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.

I respectfully ask for your utmost deliberation in the investigation of Cherry and her accomplice, who allegedly broke into ex-roommate Valerie Hernandez’s home and trapped Tiger Lily inside an activated stove. Apparently, they ransacked the apartment and raised the stove’s heat before fleeing with stolen items. The girls never heard Tiger Lily’s last screams and scratches against the oven door.

Please seek maximum adult incarceration of two years for felony animal cruelty. Cherry also faces possible jail terms of 15 years for second-degree burglary, one year for arson, and four years for criminal mischief. I urge you to hold both teens accountable. Both require psychological evaluation and therapy. Both should be barred from possessing or working with animals.

At the very least, they ought to be interned in a juvenile detention hall until age 18 (if applicable). Then, reassessment of the girls’ personality traits can determine if adult imprisonment is necessary.

Adolescents who commit brutal crimes against humans usually begin with animals. Columbine shooter Eric Harris, 18, smashed mice with a crowbar and set them on fire. Washington D.C. serial killer Lee Boyd Malvo killed stray cats with a slingshot. Kip Kinkle blew up a cow and burned a live cat. He then shot 25 classmates and murdered his parents in Springfield, Oregon. After Luke Woodham, 16, mortally stabbed his mother and shot nine others, he confessed to bludgeoning his dog with baseball bats and setting her on fire.

These murderers, like Cherry, were able to torture and kill without remorse. Indeed, the intentional burning of an animal is a “particularly significant predictor of violent and even homicidal behavior,” says Dr. Randall Lockwood of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Initiatives and a frequent consultant for cruelty investigators, law enforcers and mental health professionals.

Cherry “thought we would play a joke on Valerie.” But she and her friend are not guilty of warped humor or bad choices. Roasting a defenseless kitten is the calculated action of a sociopath and a predator.

Thank you for prosecuting Cherry and her accomplice to the fullest degree allowed by law.


— Your Name —

Click here for up-to-date information
on the case.

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