WASHINGTON (WUSA) - A DC man is accused of declawing two eight-week-old kittens in his home in May after officers found the kittens couldn't walk and their toes were infected. The kittens later had to be euthanized.
Monday, Eric Gaskin was arrested and charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty, according to the Washington Humane Society. If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to up to five years in jail and have to pay a $25,000 fine.
The Washington Human Society says its officers went to Gaskin's home in early May after hearing that two kittens were "victims of extreme cruelty." According to WHS, the officers then found that "neither could walk and all of their toes on each paw were infected."
Surgeons at an emergency animal hospital then found that the claws had been ripped from the kittens' feet and, according to WHS, that "most of the bones in each foot were crushed, including each of the kittens' four legs." The breaks may have happened when the kittens tried to escape.
The injuries were so severe, say officials, that the bones could not be repaired and both kittens had to be euthanized.
Dr. Megan McAndrew, Medical Director of the Washington Humane Society said in a statement released on Monday morning, "Declawing, even when done by experienced surgeons, can often be the source of chronic pain. These kittens literally had their toes cut off without any sort of pain control...This type of nerve damage would cause excruciating pain that would have been difficult to manage even with very strong pain medications. Furthermore, the probability of success, even with heroic efforts, would have been slim to none due to the high potential for infection and continued severe pain and suffering."
The Washington Humane Society created a memorial page for the kittens, where you can make a contribution: www.washhumane.org/kittenmemorial