FREEHOLD – A Howell Township man has been criminally charged with intentionally killing his pet cat, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Tuesday.    

Christopher Sanchez, 29, is charged with third-degree Animal Cruelty by Unnecessarily or Cruelly Abusing a Living Animal, Resulting in its Death.     

An investigation into Sanchez’s activities was initiated on Friday, March 31, when members of the Howell Township Police Department who were dispatched to a residence for an unrelated matter found the body of the cat outside the home.

Members of the Howell Township Police Department and the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Humane Law Enforcement Division conducted an investigation determining that the cat, named Lilith, had belonged to Sanchez, who is alleged to have used a sharp instrument to kill it two days earlier.

Sanchez was charged and arrested on the same day as the initial police response, then transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) pending a detention hearing tentatively scheduled to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court on Wednesday, April 12.

Anyone with information about this matter is urged to contact Howell Township Police Department Patrolman Sean Heck at 732-938-4111, SPCA Chief of Humane Law Enforcement Michael Goldfarb at 732-542-0040, or SPCA Lt. Michael Magliozzo at 732-440-4538.

Convictions on criminal charges of this nature can be punishable by up to five years in state prison. This case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Keri-Leigh Schaefer and Sevan Biramian. Sanchez is being represented by Aaron Guttenplan, Esq.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.