New Smyrna Beach, FL - A 44-year-old man is now facing charges after a cat was found to have a broken neck, which led to its death.
A report from the New Smyrna Beach Police Department (NSBPD) says a woman came home from work on Saturday (January 16th) and found her cat—a gray and white Tabby—dead. The woman's boyfriend, Michael Mule, said he thought the cats were fighting since he found fur on the bedroom floor. He then stated that the cat was in a litter box and when he tried to approach the box the cat ran away.
The woman eventually took the cat to a Port Orange vet to be cremated. But before the cat was cremated, the woman requested that X-rays be taken because of the trauma to the cat's neck. The X-rays showed that the cat's neck was broken as a result of twisting.
Police soon met with Mule, who said that he thought it would be a good idea to let the cat outside. At some point, the cat ran into the sliding glass doors of the home three times before it was let back into the house. After it came back inside, it ran inside of the litter box.
Mule told police that the cat was facing away from him at the time he took it out of the litter box—as he reportedly does not like the cat hiding there—before setting it down in the bedroom where it supposedly ran under a bed. But, officers noted an inconsistency in Mule's story.
According to NSBPD's report, Mule also claimed that he sat outside with the cat before letting it back inside after it ran into the sliding glass door. He told officers that he watched the cat run into the litter box before running in to the bedroom and under the bed, where it would eventually be found deceased.
When asked to clarify the inconsistent stories, Mule said he went inside to check on the cat since it hit the slider really hard. That's when he supposedly found the cat in the litter box before it ran out of the room and underneath the bed in the bedroom.
The investigating officers noticed that Mule's right forearm had scratches. The cat's owner told police that he did not have scratches on his arm when she left for work that morning. Mule said he got the scratches after he grabbed the cat by its scruff. An officer pointed out that a cat would be facing away from you if you grabbed it by its scruff, meaning there's no way it could have scratched the outside of his forearms. According to police, Mule offered no other explanation.
Police also found out that there was a camera in the room where the litter box was. One of the videos pulled from that room showed Mule holding the cat's scruff as it faced away from him in his right hand while he moved his left hand up to the cat's neck.
Officers additionally called the vet in Port Orange, who told police that she had "no doubt in her mind" that the cat was maliciously killed. The doctor also told police that the couple has brought in another animal in the past that had suspiciously died.
Mule was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty. Online records from Volusia County Corrections show that Mule has since bonded out of jail.