🐈 A "concerned citizen" brought the cat's dead body to police

🐈 Bani Mezquititla admitted performing sex acts on the cat

🐈 He received the maximum prison sentence he could get

ASBURY PARK — A man who admitted to sexually torturing and killing his pet cat received a maximum five-year sentence in prison.

Bani Mezquititla, 19, of Asbury Park, was arrested in March 2023 after a "concerned citizen" brought a dead cat to Asbury Park police headquarters, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond Santiago. The cat named Ellie belonged to Mezquititla and had suffered greatly before its death.

Police and Monmouth County SPCA investigators said that Mezquititla performed sexual acts on the cat and seriously injured it. He also restrained and tortured the cat, which led to its death.

Mezquititla is no longer allowed to own, live with or have custody of any animal. He must also pay for the cost of Ellie's necropsy.

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(Doug Hood, Asbury Park Press/MCPO)
(Doug Hood, Asbury Park Press/MCPO)

Highest sentence possible

Mezquititla pleaded guilty in April to charges of animal cruelty by tormenting, torturing, or unnecessarily or cruelly abusing a living animal, resulting in its death, and animal cruelty by using or causing or procuring the use of an animal or creature in a sexual manner, both third-degree crimes.

“Thanks to a diligent investigation and prosecution, yesterday’s sentencing marked one of the most substantial criminal penalties for an offense of this nature ever seen in the State of New Jersey. It is the maximum sentence one can receive under the law," Santiago said in a statement. "We strongly feel that this outcome serves the interests of justice, and hope that the numerous individuals from across the country who have reached out urging us to win justice for Ellie are similarly satisfied.”

Monmouth County residents who want to report suspected animal cruelty can contact the county SPCA hotline at 877-898-7297. More information is available on the organization's website here.

Previous reporting by Rick Rickman was used in this report

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