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'I Didn't Want To Do It,' Says Man Who Allegedly Strangled Pet Cat Because He Owned Too Many

Dennis Engard, of Newark, Ohio, allegedly owned three cats, but was told by building management he could only have two.

By Ethan Harfenist

For one Ohio man, the cat is, tragically, out of the bag.

Dennis Engard, 68, of Newark, has been charged for allegedly fatally strangling one of his pet cats because he owned more felines than his housing complex permitted.

Newark City Dog Warden Toby Willis reportedly got a call from the building manager of Engard’s complex, who alleged that Engard choked his cat to death and then threw its body out, according to a report from animal control obtained by Oxygen.com. She claimed that the suspect owned three cats, but the housing complex only allowed for tenants to keep two.

“[The woman] advised they had Mr. Engard on video carrying a trash bag out of his apartment to the elevator, entering the elevator, exiting the back doors with the trash bag and then taking the trash bag to the dumpster,” the statement said. “Once Mr. Engard got to the dumpster he threw the trash bag into the dumpster and went back inside the apartment building.”

The manager also detailed in an email provided to authorities an incident in which an “irrational and extremely fidgety” Engard allegedly admitted to strangling the cat.

“He talked about martial arts and told me he stopped taking his medicine two weeks ago,” she wrote.

Dennis Engard

In an interview at his apartment, Engard reportedly told Willis that management informed him that he had to get rid of one of his cats. He reportedly said that he let the cat loose with a trash bag because he had let somebody else borrow his pet carrier.

Engard then agreed to provide a voluntary written statement, according to Willis, who wrote that he noticed a blood stain on the statement form while he was waiting for Engard to fill it out.

“I asked Mr. Engard if that was blood on the paper. Mr. Engard advised it was and showed me his finger that was bleeding,” Willis reported. “[He] advised the injury to his finger happened when was trying to catch the cat to put the cat inside the trash bag.”

But when Engard was shown a photo of the orange cat the dog warden removed from the dumpster, Engard allegedly admitted to killing it.

“I had to get rid of it because it could die anyway when I caught it,” he said, according to the statement. “I didn’t want to do it.”

Engard was arrested on Friday and charged with two first-degree misdemeanors: prohibitions concerning companion animals and falsification, according to online court records.

Engard has pleaded not guilty to the two misdemeanor charges.

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