Newport man found guilty in cat death

Newport man Joshua Munsey will serve no jail time after being found guilty on one count of animal cruelty connected to the death of a cat. Munsey pleaded no contest to the charge on Wednesday.

NEWPORT — A Newport man charged with killing the family cat was found guilty on Wednesday after he pleaded no contest to the charge of animal cruelty.

Joshua Lee Munsey, 35, agreed during a hearing in Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport that the state can show that he put a noose on the family cat, Cricket, during an incident in 2018. The cat subsequently died of its injuries, according to the police affidavit filed in court by Newport Police Lt. Charles Rataj.

Munsey was sentenced to a year in jail, suspended for two years. During that time he is to remain on good behavior and not own any pets.

Assistant County Attorney Justin Hersh said the state’s case ran into difficulty when one of the witnesses offered conflicting versions of what had happened to the cat. That’s why the state decided to offer the plea instead of pushing for a trial, Hersh said in court.

Rataj stated in his affidavit that the cat was found by police tied up in a noose when officers went to help Munsey’s wife collect her things after an alleged prolonged domestic abuse incident.

The woman had been found hiding from her husband in her car on the night of Oct. 6, Rataj stated.

The woman told Newport police officer Alexander Marvin that Munsey beat her and made threats to kill her, according to Rataj’s affidavit. When questioned by police, Munsey denied the accusations of abuse, according to Rataj.

Munsey was arrested on domestic violence charges and was later released, according to Rataj. Police then brought him to the apartment so he could collect his things, Rataj reported, before he was taken to the homeless shelter in Claremont. Those domestic violence charges are no longer active.

After Munsey was released and collected his things from the apartment, Marvin went with the woman to the apartment so she could collect her things. That’s when police found the cat in a noose, according to Rataj’s affidavit.

The cat was bloodied and appeared to have a fractured jaw, Rataj reports. The woman told police that Munsey abused the cat on a regular basis, putting it in the noose made out of a belt and “slamming” it against the stove in the kitchen, according to Rataj.

There was blood on the side of the stove where Munsey allegedly hit the cat, and a dent, according to Rataj.

Rataj wrote in his affidavit that the cat was put down after being examined by a veterinarian. The 7-month-old cat’s hip was broken and the animal suffered many other injuries, according to the affidavit. Rataj stated that Munsey’s abuse led to the cat’s death.

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