Escondido man to be sentenced for torturing, killing cats

Escondido man to be sentenced for torturing, killing cats

“It appears that this person just enjoys taking life from animals. We had baseball bats, machetes & other weapons that had blood and fur on them,” investigators say.

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — WARNING: This story contains graphic content related to animal abuse. 

A man who plead guilty to torturing and killing at least ten cats will be sentenced Friday morning, March 1st. 

The owners whose pets he killed will be there too.

Joshua Boyer was arrested by San Diego Humane Society Law Enforcement at his home in Escondido. Investigators say they were able to catch Boyer through warrants on Craigslist, where they say he would lie to adopt animals for free and then torture and kill them. 

Boyer is facing charges going back to May 2019 including 10 counts of animal cruelty and one count of possession of metal knuckles. 

Leonard the Cat is just one of Boyer’s victims. Leonard’s picture is featured on a flyer asking supporters to come to the sentencing as a sign to the judge to deliver the stiffest penalty possible, which is eight years behind bars. 

Lt. Regina Price with San Diego Humane Society Law Enforcement said they discovered what Boyer was doing because Leonard the cat’s owner was trying to find him through an app on their phone. 

Normally the cat did figure eight’s throughout the neighborhood, Price said. But one day, the owner noticed Leonard had been taken up a freeway and to a home in Escondido.

The scene discovered in Boyer’s home was unsettling. 

“What they found was — in plain view — several deceased animals in various suspicious circumstances. So they immediately called law enforcement,” Price said.

At Boyer’s home, Price said investigators collected several pieces of evidence including the carcasses of 10 cats and partial remains of other animals.

“We have reason to believe other species of animals were involved,” she said. “Dogs, goats, chickens, pigeons. All kinds of things we discovered through Craigslist warrants of the individual trying to obtain animals that were being given away.”

Investigators say Boyer went to extreme measures to hurt these animals. 

“It appears that this person just enjoys taking life from animals,” Price said. “Tortured. They all had empty stomachs and eight of them had been killed with a deadly weapon. A lot of weapons. We had baseball bats, machetes and other weapons that had blood and fur on them.”

Lt. Price says their investigation found that Boyer used false pretense to adopt free animals off Craigslist and his history of searches for animals date back years before 2019 when he was arrested. She says there’s a strong tie between hurting animals and hurting people. 

“Animal cruelty is very important because it’s not just the victim and the crime, it’s the violence of the crime and if someone is able to do that to a defenseless animal, who knows what else they are capable of.”

We reached out to Boyer’s attorney who told CBS 8 she’s asking for probation for her client because he suffers from mental health issues, has apologized and is deeply remorseful.

Leonard the Cat’s collar was found in a neighbors backyard after Boyer’s arrest. Investigators haven’t found Leonard’s body but believe he met the same fate as the other cats.

Boyer will be sentenced at the North County division of the San Diego Superior Court at 9 a.m. on March 1.

WATCH RELATED: Neighbors rally against what they say is animal abuse, neglect in Lomita Village

Escondido man to be sentenced for torturing, killing cats

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