Santa Rosa cat stranglers get probation

A Santa Rosa man and his mother were sentenced today to probation and credit for time already served in jail for strangling their pet cat in June.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gary Medvigy sentenced Christopher Craft, 23, to three years’ probation and did not reduce Craft’s felony animal cruelty charge to a misdemeanor. The judge said he would reconsider doing so in 18 months.

Craft was sentenced to 25 days in the county jail and received credit for time already served.

Lori Craft, 50, was sentenced to two years’ probation and Medvigy reduced her felony animal abuse charge to a misdemeanor. She was sentenced to 21 days in jail and given credit for time already served.

Both defendants pleaded guilty to the charges on June 29.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said Christopher Craft strangled the male cat with a leash at the family residence on June 17 and buried it in the backyard. Staebell said it took Craft six minutes to kill the cat the family had for 10 years.

Craft and his mother told Santa Rosa police the cat was urinating on laundry and other items throughout the residence, according to a Sonoma County Probation Department pre-sentence report.

Christopher Craft also told police it was “a hassle” to buy the cat food, according to the probation report. Craft, his mother and others in the house were intoxicated at the time the cat was strangled, according to the report.

Lori Craft told police she believed she held the cat while her son strangled it. The Crafts also told police an animal shelter said there was a waiting list and a $150 fee to drop off the cat.

Christopher was ordered to perform 400 hours of community service and Lori was ordered to do 200 hours, Staebell said.

The prosecution opposed reducing the felony charges to misdemeanors, Staebell said. Christopher Craft is prohibited from owning any animals or having unsupervised contact with them during his probation, the prosecutor said.