Pennsylvania Man Went 'Fishing for Cats' With Baited Hooks, Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty

A Pennsylvania man has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after he placed food on fish hooks in order to lure cats.

Kenny Rowles, 27, of the city of Nanticoke in Luzerne County pleaded guilty to cruelty and torture to animals, ABC affiliate WNEP reported. Rowles was arraigned and jailed in May.

In April, Rowles' neighbor on East Main Street in Plymouth reported him to an animal advocacy organization after she saw him dangling a fishing rod from his second-floor porch, Fox 29 reported at the time. The woman claimed Knowles told her he was going to be "fishing for cats."

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told Fox 29 a stray cat was discovered at a property on April 8 with three fish hooks in its mouth. A further two cats were found with fishing line in their mouths.

Humane officers visited Rowles' home. They said he told them he had attached meat on fish lines to attract cats, according to WNEP.

A cat named Tollie needed surgery to treat its injuries, and was able to recover. He was sent to an animal rescue.

Luzerne County Humane Officer Lisa Devlin told WNEP: "He was in pretty bad shape, the cat, plus with the string hanging out of his mouth it was pretty severe, so I'm glad justice is going to be served, full faith in that will happen."

She told the Times Leader: "The intent was a little bit concerning. Neglect is one thing but the intent to intentionally harm and knowingly, just like the law says, it's concerning."

At the time, non-profit animal advocacy groups Whiskers World Inc. and Happy Hearts and Tails Safe Haven Animal Rescue worked to treat the cats, and urged the public to donate to help the rescue efforts. The organizations claimed some 15 cats were left behind by a tenant evicted from Rowles' apartment block. The organizations were able to raise $6,810 with a GoFundMe page. The groups planned to place the cats up for adoption.

Some cats were found with string hanging from their mouths and rectums, while a number had leg injuries, according to a Facebook post by Whiskers World Inc.

See posts, photos and more on Facebook.

In May, Rowles was charged with two felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, two misdemeanor counts of neglect of animals and cruelty to animals, and a summary count of animal cruelty, according to the Times Leader.

A criminal complaint seen by Times Leader stated Rowles cried when humane officers told him a hook had become stuck in a cat. Rowles is due to be sentenced at the Luzerne County Courthouse on December 2.

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A stock image shows a tabby cat, similar to the animal which got a fish hook stuck in its mouth. Getty