ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -Albany residents are speaking out after two people have been charged with harming and dismembering cats.
Some people are furious, especially after one of the accusers was released on bond just Wednesday. Now they’re hoping this will be a wake-up call for everyone.
“It pisses me off because people just don’t understand just because they’re not human, they still have pain,” said Sharday Cagle, a pet owner.
Sharday Cagle is furious after hearing two people were charged with animal cruelty counts after harming and dismembering cats at an Albany apartment.
“It’s ridiculous! Who can actually sit there and cut up, slice up? How they said slicing of a cat,” said Cagle.
Albany Police charged Destiny and Michael Winters with one count of aggravated cruelty to animals and two counts of cruelty to animals. District Attorney Greg Edwards said many cats were involved.
“One of whom allegedly was killed by the use of a knife and otherwise dismembered,” said Edwards.
But that's not all that was found at the apartment on the 500 block of North Westover Boulevard.
“And the other two died of dehydration as currently alleged,” said Edwards.
And get this--Cagle and her friend Darriana Galloway both worked with Michael Winters.
“I did know him. I was telling my mom about it. And she was like it’s crazy you could just work next door to somebody and not even know what they’re doing at their house,” said Cagle.
Cagle a proud pit bull owner, said for the last week she’s trying to understand it all.
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be brought to light. And I’m just glad that this was caught before other animals,” said Cagle.
As prosecutors investigate to see if more animals were harmed, these two are hope this case will open the eyes of the community.
“I’m hoping this will really make the community more aware of things that are going on. And I’m hoping this will allow people to speak out in order to fix this situation,” said Galloway.
District Attorney Greg Edwards said after further investigation, the case will be reviewed by a grand jury.
We’re told after charges are identified, the case will move to arraignment and then trial if necessary.
Georgia Animal Cruelty laws and penalties
Now prosecutors said they’re treating animal cruelty very seriously.
Georgia law states there are three levels to animal cruelty.
A person could face up to 12 months in prison and up to a $1,000 fine for misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.
When a person maliciously caused death or harm, it is an aggravated cruelty charge.
And they could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“That’s a potential sentence for animal cruelty that is aggravated. And a $10,000 fine. So the law takes it seriously, we’re going to take it seriously in the review and prosecution of this and other animal cruelty cases,” said Edwards.
Prosecutors said the third level is enhanced punishment.
If there is a prior history of animal cruelty, the violator could face up to 10 years in prison and pay a $100,000 dollar fine.
Understanding Georgia bond release process
Prosecutors said everyone charged with a crime is innocent until proven otherwise--therefore they’re entitled to be considered for bond status.
District Attorney Greg Edwards said unless someone does something to revoke their bond status, they can remain out of jail until their trial.
The court takes into consideration three things:
- if they’re going to return to court
- likely to commit new crimes
- likely to engage in intimidation of witnesses in the case
Edwards said it’s up to the judge to decide if someone is entitled to a bond based on the circumstances.
“Unless a person is otherwise disqualified by some legal means which is very rare, they are otherwise entitled to consideration for a bond, even for murder,” Edwards added.
Edwards adds victims can be included in the bond review process as well.