A 26-year-old man who prosecutors believe may have tortured and killed up to 16 cats after abducting them from a San Jose neighborhood was sentenced Friday to 16 years in jail, officials with the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office said.
Robert Farmer was given the maximum sentence Friday, handed down by Judge Sharon Chatman, who said that he was a danger to the community. Chatman also ordered Farmer to stay away from San Jose’s Cambrian Park neighborhood and barred him from owning or caring for animals for 10 years, according to prosecutors.
Last year, Farmer pleaded guilty to 20 counts of felony animal cruelty, one count of attempted felony animal cruelty, one count of simple battery and one count of using or being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Ellis said in a statement:
“Robert Farmer is a danger to society. For two months, the defendant terrorized a community, intentionally inflicted multiple acts of violence on vulnerable living creatures, killed multiple animals, battered a person, and caused extreme anguish to dozens of families whose beloved pets went missing, were found injured or dead.”
Prosecutors said Farmer abused cats he stole from the Cambrian Park neighborhood from mid-September 2015 to early October 2015.
He was arrested Oct. 8, 2015 after officers found him sleeping in his car near Hillsdale and Leigh avenues. Inside his car, officers also found multiple cat collars, along with the carcass of an orange tabby cat, according to police.
While prosecutors believe Farmer killed up to 16 cats, they were only able to locate four feline bodies. Investigators were able to then link Farmer to some of the cats by testing blood and DNA found on his clothes and inside his car.