WARNING: The following video contains animal cruelty and may be disturbing to some viewers, please use discretion before continuing.
A California teen is facing a felony animal cruelty charge and heavy online criticism following a video that surfaced showing him throwing a kitten into a body of water.
18-year-old Garratt Haile, a high school senior from Patterson, California was arrested February 2 after the video began going viral. The footage is thought to have been filmed about a year ago.
In the 11-second clip, a person recording the shocking event can be heard saying, “Welcome to badass, and this is Felipe the flying cat.” Haile can then be seen lifting the cat by the scruff of its neck before hurling it into what appears to be a lake.
Patterson Police stated in a press release that the video was “posted in a private Facebook group page for local residents.”
“During the overnight hours, deputies continued their investigation and were able to identify the subject as 18-year old Garratt Haile of Patterson,” the release stated. “Deputies were able to contact Garratt at his residence and interview him. Garratt was arrested this morning at about 8:00 AM and booked into the Stanislaus County Jail for felony animal cruelty. It is believed this incident occurred several months ago and that several other subjects were with Garratt at the time the video was recorded. Detectives are still investigating this incident to identify other subjects and the location where the incident took place.”
Authorities attributed social media to being able to apprehend the suspect.
“This is an excellent example of the public’s cooperation and we certainly appreciate it,” said Patterson Police Services Chief Jeff Dirkse. “With calls we received and the information shared to us via social media, we were able to quickly investigate, identify, and make an arrest in this case.”
Nicole Pinheiro posted the video to a community page in hopes that Haile would be caught. She told Heavy:
The video I posted I screen recorded (it’s a feature that the iPhone has) because people were wondering how to share it. So I recorded and shared it with the news stations because I felt it something that needed to be seen, so he can pay for actions. Which that is exactly what happened. He got caught. Everyone on the watch page was tagging the local police department and even calling them. So he would have been caught regardless. But sometimes things like this get looked over (not by purpose) but they do. So I shared it with the local news stations and they all wrote me back. Saying ‘thanks for the tip, we are looking into this.’
Then in the morning at 8 a.m. he was arrested. Then the new stations picked up the story and it went from there. I am just glad he got caught and he is being charged. I don’t care if they are charging him as a minor or an adult. I’m just glad that he is getting punished for what he did. I want him to realize what he did was completely wrong. Which I’m sure he is feeling it now.
The condition of the kitten is not known at this time, however this article will be updated as information becomes available.
“I just want to know if the kitten is okay,” Pinheiro stated. “It has not been said whether the cat is okay or not.”
If the incident did indeed occur approximately one year ago, the timing eerily aligns with the timing of another California teen who was under fire after throwing a cat onto pavement:
The feline in the coverage above miraculously survived, and a 16-year-old was taken into custody in Ontario, located about 330 miles from Patterson.
“The Suspect in the Cat Abuse Video has been ARRESTED!,” Ontario Police exclaimed in a tweet. “He was spotted by officers today in Upland. He ran from the officers but was quickly tackled and arrested. The injured cat is at a veterinarian hospital being looked after and is in good condition.”
In the absolutely disturbing 10-second clip, it sounds as if a bystander says “Can’t believe you’re doing this,” before the boy hurls the kitten through the air. When it lands on the street, the feline can be heard crying in apparent and expected pain after hitting the pavement.