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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Prison for Man Who Amputated Kitten Toes

WASHINGTON (CN) - A D.C. man who subjected two kittens to a "brutal home amputation" was sentenced to nearly one year in prison by a judge on Friday.

Judge Patricia Broderick sentenced Eric Gaskin to 360 days in jail, with all but 180 days suspended, on two counts of animal cruelty.

The 39-year-old Gaskin pleaded guilty to the charges in November 2012 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. After serving his sentence, Gaskin must serve three years of probation during which time he will undergo mental health treatment, take parenting classes, not have any pets and perform 40 hours of community service, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Authorities apprehended Gaskin after the Washington Humane Society had to euthanize the two kittens he had mangled.

The evidence showed that Gaskin bought the kittens at a corner store on May 4, 2012, and brought them to his sister's house where he had been staying at the time.

Though Gaskin is not a veterinarian or otherwise trained in animal medical care, he attempted to declaw the kittens or possibly even to amputate their toes using some sort of clippers and without any anesthesia.

"Following this brutal home amputation, the kittens sat for days, unable to walk, as the open wounds in their paws festered and caked over with kitty litter and fecal matter," prosecutors said in a statement. "Gaskin's sister noticed how injured the kittens were and brought them to the attention of the Washington Humane Society. However, the injuries were so severe that the kittens had to be euthanized."

The prosecutor's statement quotes veterinarian Matthew Braun's report summarizing various medical examinations of the kittens. "The degree of amputation (complete or partial) of the distal phalanges is more strongly suggestive of an intent to amputate the digit rather than clip the claws," Dr. Braun wrote.

He added that the procedure would have been extremely painful for the kittens, and they would have struggled to get away.

"Indeed, as the kittens struggled against the defendant's grip, most of the bones in each foot and leg were crushed, causing excruciating pain and profuse bleeding," according to the prosecutor's statement.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. praised the work of the Washington Humane Society and its investigating law enforcement officer in the sentencing statement. He also praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Lallas for his prosecution of the case.

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