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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Friday, February 22, 2013

District Man Sentenced To Six Months In Jail For Brutal Abuse Of Kittens-Defendant Pled Guilty To Animal Cruelty Charges -

     WASHINGTON - Eric Gaskin, 39, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 360 days in jail, with all but 180 days suspended, on two counts of animal cruelty stemming from the abuse of two kittens, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.

     Gaskin pled guilty to the charges in November 2012 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Patricia A. Broderick. Following the 180 days of jail time, Gaskin will be placed on three years of probation. Judge Broderick ordered that, during that time, Gaskin must undergo mental health treatment, take parenting classes, not have any pets, and perform 40 hours of community service.

     According to the government’s evidence, on May 4, 2012, Gaskin purchased two kittens at a corner store and brought them to his sister’s house, where he was staying at the time.  Within the next day or two, the defendant, who is not a veterinarian or otherwise trained in animal medical care, attempted to de-claw the kittens or possibly even to amputate their toes using some sort of clippers and without any anesthesia. 

     Following this brutal home amputation, the kittens sat for days, unable to walk, as the open wounds in their paws festered and caked over with kitty litter and fecal matter.  Gaskin’s sister noticed how injured the kittens were and brought them to the attention of the Washington Humane Society.  However, the injuries were so severe that the kittens had to be euthanized. 

     In a report summarizing various medical examinations of the kittens, Dr. Matthew Braun, a veterinarian, wrote: “The degree of amputation (complete or partial) of the distal phalanges is more strongly suggestive of an intent to amputate the digit rather than clip the claws.” 

     Dr. Braun further stated that, this would have been an extremely painful experience for the kittens, and they would have struggled to get away. Indeed, as the kittens struggled against the defendant’s grip, most of the bones in each foot and leg were crushed, causing excruciating pain and profuse bleeding.

     Dr. Megan McAndrew, Medical Director of the Washington Humane Society, added that “these kittens literally had their toes cut off without any sort of pain control.”

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of the Washington Humane Society and its law enforcement officer who investigated the case.  He also commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Lallas, who investigated and prosecuted the matter.


Updated February 19, 2015