Local Man Admits To Torturing, Killing Pet Cat

Photo courtesy Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office

  ASBURY PARK – A 19-year-old man has admitted to torturing his pet cat which resulted in its death, officials said.

  Bani J. Mezquititla of Asbury Park pleaded guilty to Animal Cruelty by Tormenting, Torturing, or Unnecessarily or Cruelly Abusing a Living Animal Resulting in its Death, and Animal Cruelty by Using or Causing or Procuring the Use of an Animal or Creature in Any Kind of Sexual Manner, both third-degree crimes. 

  On March 2, 2023, a concerned citizen brought the body of a dead cat to Asbury Park Police Department headquarters. Investigators learned the cat belonged to Mezquititla.

  Authorities said Mezquititla allegedly performed sexual acts on the animal, seriously injuring it. He is also alleged to have later restrained and tortured the cat, resulting in its death.

  He was located and arrested later on the same day the investigation was initiated, then brought to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI). He remains incarcerated there as the case has progressed, as a motion by the State to keep him detained was granted.

  Sentencing in the case has been tentatively scheduled for June 13, at which time the State is requesting a term of five years in state prison, the maximum allowable under either applicable statute, as well as restitution for the cost of the cat’s necropsy and an order permanently banning Mezquititla from ever again owning, living with, or having custody over any animal.