Cat owner, suspect speak out on animal cruelty case in Garvin County

Published: Mar. 23, 2019 at 7:33 PM CDT
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Garvin County sheriff's deputies arrested 62-year-old Dan Stephens at his home near Ratliff City on Tuesday for felony animal cruelty.

He is accused of releasing his neighbor's eight-year-old cat into a fence with his two Malinois dogs, who attacked and killed the cat.

The cat, named Mittens, had walked onto his property and scratched his girlfriends daughter while she was trying to put the cat back where it belonged.

The scratch caused the girl to bleed, upsetting Stephens.

Mittens' owner, Lisa Baker of Pauls Valley, said she had to take off work when she heard what happened.

"Because that was like losing one of my own children, that's how my cats are to me," Baker said. "They are my children."

Baker said because she lives in the city, she could not keep all of her cats there so her sister-in-law cares for them at her home, next door to Stephens.

Stephens did not want to go on camera but said the cats have been a nuisance to him and other neighbors, scratching vehicles and chasing their chickens.

He said he also spent lots of time and money working on a fence to keep the cats out.

Stephens said he did not know if the cats are vaccinated and wanted to protect his dog's puppies.

He did admit the act to deputies after they received video and photos of the act from the Stephens' neighbor.

"I really hope he get the justice he deserves because Mittens must have been terrified knowing what was going to happen to her," Baker said.

Stephens is due back in court in May. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.