A San Jose man faces 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing or injuring more than 20 pet cats that he stole from a quiet residential community last fall, according to prosecutors.
On Tuesday, Robert Farmer, 25, pleaded guilty to 21 felony counts of animal cruelty after a surveillance tape showed him snatching a tabby cat in the Cambrian Park neighborhood, according to the Santa Clara County district attorney's office.
"As this sad case comes to a close, our thoughts are with the families who lost their beloved pets," Deputy Dist. Atty. Alexandra Ellis said in a statement. "We intend to hold Mr. Farmer accountable for his perverse and violent acts."
The gruesome case of animal cruelty came to light in October 2015, when authorities arrested Farmer as he slept in his car. Hidden inside the vehicle was a dead orange tabby cat and some cat collars.
While investigating the matter, police found surveillance video that showed Farmer luring a similar looking tabby cat from a Cambrian Park home and running away with it.
The dead cat and collars were eventually linked to Farmer and what investigators said was a mass killing of neighborhood cats.
Farmer was suspected of maiming the felines and possibly sexually abusing one cat, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Prosecutors said Farmer stole the felines from neighborhood streets and killed up to 16 cats. But investigators found only four bodies.
Late last year, prosecutors appealed to the public for help in identifying the female, long-haired tabby cat as well as the two collars with bells — one was black with a white chain-link pattern and the other was pink and coated with glitter.