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John (Jack) Duff said he put Oreo the cat "out of its misery" because it was old, obese and dying
WARNING: This story contains information that may be disturbing to some readers. Reader discretion is advised.
A provincial court judge will return next month with a sentence for a Goulds man who stabbed his pet cat to death in his kitchen sink.
John (Jack) Duff, 54, has pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawfully killing an animal in connection with the death of 14-year-old Oreo last October 13.
Duff’s adult son called police to report his father had stabbed the cat. RNC officers arrived to find Oreo’s body in the bushes at the end of Duff’s driveway on Main Road. Inside the house, the officers found blood and fur in the kitchen sink.
A necropsy revealed Oreo had died from a sharp-force injury to the right lung, likely caused by a single-edged, two-inch blade.
Prosecutor Jude Hall told the court it has an obligation to send a message of denunciation and deterrence not only to Duff but the public in general. He presented Duff’s criminal record, which includes charges of impaired driving, driving while disqualified, theft, mischief and break and entry since 2016.
Hall asked for a two-month jail sentence, followed by two months’ probation with mandatory counselling.
“I don’t want that,” interjected Duff, who represented himself in court.
Hall also asked Judge Colin Flynn to ban Duff from owning an animal for three years.
“No, I don’t want that, either,” Duff said, adding his son, who lives with him, owns a dog.
Duff told the court Oreo was old and obese and dying. He said he had searched online for somewhere to take his pet to be euthanized but couldn’t drive to Humane Services in St. John’s.
“They need a better system of where to put (animals),” Duff said. “I called and they wouldn’t come pick him up.”
Duff had told police he put the cat “out of its misery,” according to the facts Hall read into the court record.
Duff said in court he suffers from adult-onset Huntington disease, a progressive brain disorder, which seemed to have developed around five years ago. The disease is genetic in his family, he said.
“It’s a brain disorder where you start doing some things that’s not normal,” Duff explained.
Duff made no suggestions for an appropriate sentence.
Flynn will deliver his sentencing decision May 28.