A Marysville, Washington man who allegedly shot his neighbor’s cat and hid the body in his freezer has been ordered to pay $1,000. Animal law attorney Adam Karp told Seattle Pets Examiner that a jury trial in this criminal case is set for March 10, 2016 in Marysville Municipal Court.
According to Marysville Police Department reports, Chad Dubis, 46, fatally shot his neighbor’s one-year-old cat, Storm, in Sept. 2015. Storm’s owner, Jessica Suttie, had noticed that Storm was missing on Sept. 21, 2015; after a prolonged search, she noticed fur on the fence that separated her property from Dubis’. When she looked over the fence, Suttie saw an empty live trap in Dubis’ backyard. “I immediately began to panic and started crying out, ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’” Suttie wrote in her police report.
According to Suttie, Chad Dubis had threatened to kill any cats who trespassed on his property, and he had previously thrown cubes of rat poison into her yard. Dubis was charged with animal cruelty in the second degree and unlawful discharge of a firearm when he fatally shot Storm.
In addition to the $1,000 fine, the court also issued a one-year anti-harassment protection order to Suttie and her family. Dubis stated that he did not know that the cat belonged to his neighbor, but the court commissioner did not believe these claims.
The court commissioner wrote on Nov. 16, 2015: “[Dubis] told [Suttie] not to get any more cats or that he would kill them. The court finds this credible…[and] the court does not find the respondent’s claims credible that he did not know that it was the petitioner’s cat or how he decided to shoot the cat. [Dubis] more likely than not knew that it was [Suttie’s] cat or was recklessly not paying attention…[and] he just destroyed [the cat.]”
The Suttie Family still mourns the loss of Storm. According to police reports, Dubis had told Suttie that he “hated male cats” and would “shoot or [expletive] kill’” any cat that came into his yard or around his boat. During a phone conversation on Sept. 24, Suttie asked Dubis if he had seen her cat; according to Suttie, he chuckled and then said, “Not anymore.” Dubis then stated that he had recently caught an opossum, which was still in his freezer in the garage. He offered to show the animal to Suttie.
During the phone conversation, Dubis described Storm, as well as several other cats who had gone missing from the Suttie home. Concerned that the opossum might not be the only animal in her neighbor’s garage, Suttie continued to question Dubis, who offered to allow her to inspect the freezer. Suttie, her children, and Suttie’s friend, Catherine Clement, went to the Dubis residence; the children stayed in the vehicle while Suttie and Clement entered the garage with Dubis.
An inspection of the freezer showed that it did contain a bloody, deceased opossum, but Storm was not inside. Suttie then saw a black garbage bag in the vicinity of the freezer. According to Suttie, when she questioned Dubis about its contents, asking if it was her cat, Dubis stated, “Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t!” Police reports state that Dubis then took the bag, held it over a washbasin, and allowed it to fall, where it landed with a resounding thud.
“I started screaming at the top of my lungs, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, no, no, no…Why?’ and I collapsed to the floor,” Suttie wrote in her police report. “As I went down and my hand touched the bag, it was ice cold.” According to Suttie, Dubis stood and watched her as she struggled to get up.
Suttie finally grabbed the bag, screaming at Dubis as she went to her car. According to police officer Dave Vasconi, Suttie stated that she was recovering from major medical surgery and was weak and overwhelmed with emotion at the time. Once she was home, Suttie made the terrible discovery that the bag did, in fact, contain Storm; his body was still frozen and had likely been removed from the freezer shortly before Suttie visited the Dubis residence.
“My children and I left traumatized,” Suttie wrote in her report. “The children were crying hysterically for hours…finally fell asleep from emotional exhaustion. My daughter stated her fear that Chad would come kill us, too.”
Storm’s body was sent to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL) for a necropsy. Dr. Josh Ramsay, Senior Pathologist at WADDL, performed the necropsy on Storm on Oct. 1.
Dr. Ramsay found two bullets in Storm’s body: One in the skull above Storm’s left eye, and one located in the shoulder. According to Dr. Ramsay, these injuries were not likely to have caused immediate death; in his report, Dr. Ramsay stated that these types of wounds would have caused “significant pain.”
On Oct. 6 Officer Vasconi, accompanied by two other officers, served a search warrant at the Dubis residence. After Vasconi Mirandized Dubis, the latter stated that he caught Storm in a trap because the cat was a “nuisance animal” who had sprayed his barbeque, motorcycle cover, and motorcycle.
Dubis told Officer Vasconi that he “loved animals,” but then stated that he shot Storm in the head while the cat was still in the live trap, but the cat didn’t die. Dubis stated: “The cat just looked up at me. I know this is gonna incriminate myself, this usually works but didn’t, so I went inside and grabbed a 22 short bullet then went back out to the cat and shot it in the back of the head, the neck area.”
According to Dubis, Storm died approximately three or four minutes later. Dubis stated that he then placed the cat’s body in the freezer so that it “wouldn’t smell” before garbage day.
Adam Karp is representing the Sutties, while Anna Goykhman is representing the defendant. Updates to this story will be posted as they occur.