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News / Clark County News

Clark County man gets year in jail for killing cats in Washougal

Judge rules defendant can’t own, live with animals

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: January 31, 2024, 5:36pm

A Clark County man was sentenced Wednesday to a year in jail for killing at least two cats after police found their disfigured bodies in February 2023 in Washougal.

Kenneth Thurman, 42, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to two counts of first-degree animal cruelty and one count of failure to register as a sex offender. He was originally charged with two additional counts of animal cruelty.

Judge John Fairgrieve ordered the high-end sentence and that Thurman not be allowed to possesses or reside with any animals.

Thurman said Wednesday he was sorry for what he did, and he’s been seeking mental health treatment.

“Due to the ramifications of what I’ve done, I realized that I really need some help,” he said.

Fairgrieve called the information in the probable cause affidavit distressing, and he said he’s worried about Thurman committing future violence.

“There’s quite a bit of research that’s been done that indicates there’s a strong correlation between physical abuse of animals and individuals committing more serious acts against humans, so I appreciate your comments about recognizing, acknowledging you have a problem and wanting to seek help after you’re released from jail,” Fairgrieve said.

On Feb. 7, a Washougal police officer reported finding two dead cats inside containers in the 3300 block of F Place. He said the cats appeared to have been severely bludgeoned. They were found less than a half-mile from Thurman’s residence, according to the probable cause affidavit.

A woman who said she was Thurman’s roommate reported to law enforcement she believed he was killing animals. She told officers he’d brought home about 10 cats over the past three months, but they disappeared each time by the following day, court records state.

She also reported he’d sent her photos of two cats that appeared to be dead, and she described hearing sounds of animals in distress coming from Thurman’s room, the affidavit states.

When officers served a search warrant for Thurman’s bedroom, they found blood splatter on the floor and walls, along with cat toys and supplies. Police located Thurman about a week later, and he denied killing the cats. Instead, investigators said he told them someone broke into his room and killed the cats, according to the affidavit.

Court records state officers had tried to contact Thurman multiple times over the prior six months due to mental health concerns.