Cornell police made an arrest in a disturbing case of animal cruelty. Tamara Lindstrom has the details. We'd like to warn you that some of the information in this story may be upsetting to sensitive viewers.
ITHACA, N.Y. -- Word of the brutal torture and killing of cats back in August left the Cornell campus and the Ithaca Community on edge.
"Certainly concerning. Studies have been done that show direct correlation between individuals that do this sort of things with animals and then it leads them to do similar things against humans," said SPCA Investigator Joe Hoffer.
A maintenance worker found the bodies of three cats in the Cascadilla gorge that runs along the edge of campus, leading investigators to a gruesome scene.
"The cats were in very poor condition with ligatures around their necks, so it looks like they had been hung by rope at one point," said Cornell University Deputy Police Chief Dave Honan.
"Three of the adult cats we found were actually strung up with shoelaces. It was a pretty grisly scene. In addition to the cats that we recovered, there were also several feline skeletons that were left over in the brush. One of the most horrible things I've seen in my three years since I've been here," Hoffer said
Some of the cats had been mutilated as well. Cornell police turned to the community for help solving the crimes and now have an arrest. Mitchell Medina, 22, has been charged with three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.
"We all worked together on this case and we did get some good information from the community that helped us bring this case to a conclusion and an arrest," Honan.
As for the unlucky cats, police say Medina had gotten them from an acquaintance, saying he wanted them as pets. While humane investigators say this is an extraordinary case, animal abuse is still widespread.
Hoffer said, "It goes on all the time everywhere. It's sad to have to say that, but there are a lot of people out there who just don't have the regard for animal life the way some of us do."
Medina is being held in Tompkins County Jail on unrelated charges. He is scheduled to appear in court next week.