A kitten rescued from an abusive home in La Puente has been placed with a new family, while the 18-year-old man convicted of beating the animal has begun serving a 6-month jail sentence, authorities announced Wednesday.
Willis So, 18, of La Puente, was sentenced Dec. 20 in El Monte Superior Court to 180 days in jail, as well as three years of probation, 300 hours of community service, and $1,100 and restitution and fines, Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control officials said in a written statement. He took a plea deal at at pre-trial hearing.
Officials arrested him on suspicion of animal cruelty and seized injured animal Dec. 7, according to officials and booking records.
The cat has since recuperated and been placed with a family in Tujunga, animal control officials said.
“Lily, now re-named Pepper by her new owner, is acclimating nicely and recovering on schedule according to their family veterinarian,” animal control Director Marcia Mayeda said.
Despite a traumatic history, the 8-month-old short-haired cat maintains a friendly disposition, officials added.
“My staff was amazed at how loving and carefree (Pepper) was when she was in our care, considering what she went through,” Mayeda said.
So was accused of beating the cat when he would argue with his mother, animal control Deputy Director Aaron Reyes said.
“Whenever the suspect would argue with his mom, he would take out his frustrations on the cat,” Reyes said.
Investigators discovered an old fracture in the kitten’s leg, as well as other injuries such as a broken tooth and swelling of the cheek and eye socket, officials said.
But Pepper is now well on her way to a full recovery, Reyes added. “She’s in great spirits, and over all, a tough little girl.”
Several people expressed interest in adopting Pepper, Reyes said, and she was placed with her new home just before Christmas.
“This is quite the holiday present for not only the new owner, but for her as well,” he added.
In addition to the pain cruelty can cause to animals, it can be a sign of dangerously violent tendencies, officials said.
“Cruelty to animals is a precursor to violence toward human beings,” Mayeda said.
Anyone who believed they’ve witnessed animal cruelty is asked to call local animal control officials. If an animals life is in danger, officials advise calling 911.
PHOTO of Pepper the cat courtesy of Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control.