Judge tosses top charge against Brooklyn man accused of kicking 'King' the cat

WABC logo
Friday, January 9, 2015

STUYVESANT HEIGHTS, N.Y. (WABC) -- A judge has dropped the most serious charge against a Brooklyn man accused of viciously kicking a cat.

A state Supreme Court judge ruled Thursday that prosecutors failed to demonstrate that the feline had been injured.

Andre Robinson, 21, was caught on video in May allegedly kicking a stray cat. According to the arrest report, the cat flew about 20 feet.

Robinson was charged with torturing and injuring an animal. The charge required prosecutors offer evidence of the cat's injuries. The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

The judge said the charge could be restored if prosecutors return with the evidence.

Meanwhile, prosecutors on Thursday added another charge against Robinson - attempted animal torture and injury. It carries up to 90 days in jail.

The criminal complaint said he was identified as the person on the video by his mother, who told police he loves animals and had cats and dogs as a child, according to the document. The suspect has 8 prior arrests.

Police launched an investigation after Eyewitness News brought the video to their attention. NYPD detectives went to the man's housing complex after examining the video. A warning when watching the video: It is disturbing.

The man is seen cajoling a cat, petting it, and as the cat gets closer, the alleged suspect kicks it like a football.

But there is at least a happy ending with the rescue of the cat, affectionately known in the Brevoort Houses as "King".

He's being checked out after running through the complex all day Tuesday, trying to evade rescuers.

The suspect's mother, Mary Kirby, would not talk about her son and the charges, as even she followed pet rescuers and the NYPD as they tried to capture the fleeting feline four times hiding under cars.

Dorit Shani, with the North Shore Animal League, spent the day trying to coax King from under several cars, first enticing him with food and then trying to catch him. Each time he got away.

"You try to go as slow as possible to try and gain their trust and then once you have sight of them, you try to get them as quick as possible," said Shani.

Eventually the cat was surrounded on three sides, which allowed the rescuers to put the cage at one end and finally coax him out.

He suddenly popped out the end of a dumpster, cowering in a humane cage, now safe and sound.

Police say he'll be evaluated at an animal hospital and when the case is over he'll be available for adoption.

A veterinarian confirmed to police that the blow likely caused "serious physical injury."

The video of the incident, posted on Facebook, sparked outrage Monday.

It is hard to believe but some who saw the video weren't fazed, and some wondered why people were so concerned.

"Basically why would you worry about a cat? I understand that it's cruelty to animals but there's more serious stuff going on," one resident said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.