A California man is being held on charges of animal cruelty and eating an animal commonly kept as a pet or companion. In this instance, he’s accused of killing and eating stray cats.
Jason Louis Wilmert, 36, of Oildale, was arrested after his neighbors reported screeching noises and foul smells coming from the suspect’s property. One witness claims to have seen Wilmert allegedly horribly mistreating a cat while it was still alive.
None of Wilmert’s neighbors reported any missing pets, leaving authorities to believe he was dining on strays. “I saw him buy a case of beer,” Wilmert’s neighbor Steve Poe said. “So if you can afford a case of Natural Light [beer], you can get some top ramen.” Another neighbor claimed he felt uneasy by the way Wilmert was looking at his dog. ”I’d tell him to stop, but he’s like ‘I ain’t doing nothing,” Steven Smith said, “’I’m just looking.’”
Kern County Deputy District Attorney Michael Yraceburn has been involved with several of these types of cases for 20 years, but he says he’s never known of anyone being charged with eating a pet or companion. The law, passed in 1989, does not apply to “any livestock, poultry, fish, shellfish, or any other agricultural commodity produced in the state,” and there are separate laws regarding legally killing game animals.
If convicted, Wilmert could face up to 6 months in jail.