A grim midday scene

These animal cruelty stories that pop up with depressing regularly leave us in a state of sick disbelief, wondering what is wrong with people. The latest one is no exception -- not just because of what allegedly happened, but where. Albany police say a man was arrested for allegedly killing a cat by bashing its head against the sidewalk Wednesday. At State and Pearl in downtown Albany. In the middle of the day.

APD: Animal Cruelty Arrest

Albany police arrested a 44 year old Cohoes man yesterday afternoon after he killed a cat on South Pearl Street

Officers working a detail at the Times Union Center were flagged down just after 12:00 p.m., by a person who stated that a man sitting on the Times Union Center steps had just killed a cat at South Pearl and State Streets.

Throughout the investigation officers learned that James Backus, of 18 Chadwyck Court, Cohoes, allegedly grabbed a cat by the tail and struck his head on the concrete sidewalk four to five times before killing it. He then placed the dead cat in a city garbage can. It is also alleged that the cat had been hit by a car prior to the incident and was lying in the middle of the road with several injuries.

Backus was arrested at the scene without incident and charged with Aggravated Animal Cruelty.

He was arraigned yesterday afternoon in the Albany City Criminal Court and released on his own recognizance.


ACTUAL tears.

I just....I can't.

I know "an eye for an eye" never solves anything but it would be so satisfying right now to treat that piece of [bleep] the way he treated that poor animal.

I'm sorry, did everyone miss this: "It is also alleged that the cat had been hit by a car prior to the incident and was lying in the middle of the road with several injuries." So I'll admit I don't know what exactly happened, just like everyone else who read this and was not there. But it sounds to me like it is entirely possible, if not even likely, that the cat may had just been hit by a car, was on it's death bed, suffering in agonizing pain, and this guy was attempting to put the animal out of its misery...I'm not saying that's the right thing to do, and I'm definitely not saying that would be what I would do in that situation, but I'm shocked at how fast everyone is to condemn the man. The fact that this happened in broad daylight in a heavy trafficked area makes me think this isn't your run of the mill gets off on hurting animals kind of person; but rather someone who at least thought they were doing the right thing. I mean seriously, are you going to judge everyone who puts their pets "to sleep" too?

@jackers: "this guy was attempting to put the animal out of its misery..."; I do also feel there might be more to this story, but if you are in the middle of town around noon, there's got to be more humane ways to "finish" an agonizing animal. I mean seriously, too.

I agree. Once I got down to the allegation that it might have been injured, my perspective on the act changed. He probably had the idea that he was putting the cat out of its misery. But still, no normal person would respond by swinging a cat around by its tail and smashing it into the concrete. There are better ways to handle an injured animal. Even snapping its neck would've been better.

Also, noon at State Street and Pearl is an extremely public location. Nobody looking to commit some animal cruelty would do it there.

Again, not saying that what the guy did was the right thing to do; but people come from different backgrounds, with different up bringing, have different levels of education, and can have greater or lesser capacities to consider what are the most appropriate actions in certain situations. Like others have also duly noted, there is probably more to what happened, and it does not seem like this person was attempt to commit animal cruelty. My point is simply this: it's unfair and IRRESPONSIBLE to pass judgement so quickly. Let's hope everyone so eager to throw stones doesn't have to be similarly judged by the masses for an isolated action of their own one day. Where knee-jerk emotional reactions, based on only limited information and perspectives, determine their guilt or innocence in the public's perception. For my part, I feel like I see that sort of thing pop up with depressing regularly, leaving me in a state of sick disbelief, wondering what is wrong with people.

If indeed this poor cat was struck by a car and didn't appear to be able to survive it's injuries I can understand the need to put the poor animal out of it's misery. However, the man should have taken a moment to weight the appropriateness of place and measure.

A few weeks ago our neighbor's cat left her a half dead baby rabbit on her porch. This poor rabbit was obviously not going to survive it's injuries so her husband got an axe out of the garage and well, you know. Afterwards they buried the rabbit in the back yard, said some prayers and then promptly got a bell for their cats safety collar.

I suspect this brutal act was intended to be some sort of mercy killing. As horrific as it sounds, lets see how this plays out in court before we lose our collective sh*t. If the dude was doing it for fun, that's one thing. But if he was trying to end the cats suffering (albeit poorly), then that's something else entirely.

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