Father of accused kitten killer speaks out

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by Steve Ryan

azfamily.com

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 5:49 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 3 at 1:32 PM

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PHOENIX -- An East Valley father stands by his son after the boy's arrest for alleged animal abuse.

The boy was one of four arrested last weekend after being caught on video, allegedly abusing a kitten to death at a mobile home park in Chandler.

"It's one thing to hear about animal cruelty but to see it and to see it as it's happening it's really disturbing," said Sgt. Joe Favazzo with the Chandler Police Department.

According to Chandler police, six kids between the ages of 7 and 12 were playing at a trailer park playground near Arizona Avenue and Germann Road on Oct. 14.

Video surveillance allegedly shows some of the children pushing a dog down a slide and into the kitten. The children were also observed hitting the kitten with a soccer ball, throwing it to the ground, kicking it, and throwing it into a pool. The kitten eventually died.

On Monday, 3TV spoke with the father of one of the accused boys.

"It surprised me when I saw the video," Gildarro Sierra said. "Yeah, I never saw my kid like that."

Sierra told 3TV the cruelty to the kitten was not his son's idea. He said his son doesn't even know the other boys in the video.

"He's a really good kid, really smart kid," Sierra said.

Sierra believes it was not his son's idea. "No, definitely it's not," he said. "He was in the wrong time with the wrong kids. That's it."

Police said one of the boys bought the cat from someone in the mobile home park for $3.

"They knew what they were doing. They explained that to me," said Officer Nicole Cockerham of the Chandler Police Department. "They just really tried to downplay it, that it wasn't a big deal to them."

"I love my son, but I agree with the law," Sierra said. "He has to pay for it. I'm not going to pay for my son. He needs to know what are good and bad things, so in the future he's not going to do it anymore."

Four of the boys face a felony animal cruelty charge. The 7-year-old who was present wasn’t charged due to his age. Another boy also avoided charges because police said he was just an observer and did not abuse the animals.

"The question is, will this type of behavior then escalate to would they do this to another child or as they get older would they do this to adults?" Favazzo said. "I mean those are certainly questions that we have to ask and it has to be taken very seriously."

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