He strangled the cat to protect girlfriend, save money

A Kamloops man is in court facing several charges after strangling his cat Oreo last March.
Image Credit: SPCA

KAMLOOPS — A Kamloops man who admitted to strangling his cat for peeing on the floor, was in court today facing several animal cruelty related charges.

Steven Seidel, 28, admitted in Kamloops Provincial Court today to strangling his cat, Oreo, on March 14, 2013, out of concern for his pregnant girlfriend.

“I just grabbed him by the throat with two hands and just started squeezing and then he went limp and it was over,” Seidel said.

Oreo had been defecating throughout the house, the man said, something he learned could be harmful to his unborn baby, possibly causing brain damage, heart problems, and deformities.

The couple had been struggling to buy the necessary items for the baby, including a clothes and a car seat. Seidel said whenever they were able to scrape enough together to buy something, Oreo would pee on it.

Seidel and his girlfriend Moriah Smith, 22, began looking for alternative care for Oreo, but were unsuccessful.

They went to the SPCA but were told they needed to pay a fee to leave the cat, something they could not afford.

“I didn’t think there was any chance he would be adopted,” he said. “He was already four.”

Seidel said he drank almost 30 beer on March 13, and continued upon waking the next morning. Smith said he was already drinking when she left for an appointment at 7:45 a.m.

While he doesn’t remember Smith leaving, he does remember the cat scratching at a closet door. Assuming Oreo had defecated in the house again, Seidel said he grabbed the cat and strangled it. It took less than a minute.

“I was crying, I couldn’t believe what had happened,” Seidel said.

“He told me he killed the cat and put the body in the dumpster,” said Smith, who received the call minutes after the body was tossed. “He asked for compassion and said it wasn’t easy on him either.”

Seidel said he feels guilty and sad about what happened, admitting there were other options.

“He was a common coloured cat,” he said. “You see black and white cats on TV all the time. It’s hard to even watch commercials anymore…. He was my cat, I still think of him as my cat.”

“I think ultimately this trial is about the betrayal of a pet,” special provincial constable Kent Kokoska said outside of court. Oreo had a pair of hands feed him, said the constable, he went to them for love and affection, and those same hands extinguished his life.

Kokoska said there was some form of miscommunication between Seidel and the SPCA. While there is a donation request, a fee is not required to relinquish a pet.

“I just hope the end result of this trial is that the public will get a strong message that if there is any consideration that an animal needs to be euthanized, it needs to be done through a veterinary service,” he said. “There are other options available and phone calls that can be made”

Final submissions will be heard tomorrow.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Cavelle Layes at clayes@infotelnews.ca or call 250-319-7494.

— Headline changed at 8:48 a.m. March 19 to correct an error. Evidence suggested Seidel was protecting his girlfriend. She is not his wife.

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