Brothers facing animal cruelty charges

Two Vallonia men have been arrested in connection with an animal cruelty case involving the death of more than 20 cats, police report.

Gavin Garrett Goens and Garth Franklin Goens, both 28, were arrested Thursday and face charges of animal cruelty — a Level 6 felony, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia, according to a news release from Sheriff Rick Meyer.

“We take reports of animal cruelty very seriously,” Meyer said in the release issued Monday afternoon. “The facts of this case are very disturbing. Nobody has the right to kill or harm a neighbor’s pets.”

The investigation that led to the arrest of the brothers began with a call placed Jan. 9 by a neighbor of the men who said she had recorded an altercation between the Goenses and another man.

During the interaction, the two yelled at the woman, “Hey, your cats are dead.”

When an officer visited the brothers’ residence, the two men initially said the cats they had killed were feral. They said the cats came onto their property and were caught in a trap.

The police report noted there were numerous wire traps of varying sizes containing some sort of bait. During the conversation, the two admitted that cats matching the description of the neighbor’s had been a nuisance and were caught in the traps, police said.

The brothers also are alleged to have killed the animals by shooting them in the head with a 9mm handgun and then burying the deceased cats on their property, police said.

The pair is alleged to have killed more than 20 cats, police said.

The brothers both posted $1,505 bonds on Monday morning and were released from the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown.

A Level 6 felony is punishable by six month to two and a half years in jail if convicted.