BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Across the country, animal shelters are looking for a suspected cat killer living right here in Baltimore. They say he’s responsible for the deaths of five cats and kittens.
Weijia Jiang has the chilling charges against Ethan Weibman.
Charging documents accuse the young man of carefully choosing animals at various shelters before breaking their teeth, beating and cutting them up.
Weibman, 20, faces a host of charges, including mutilating an animal and animal cruelty resulting in death.
“We contacted the authorities immediately,” said MDSPCA Executive Director Aileen Gabbey.
The investigation was launched in March when Weibman adopted a kitten from the Maryland SPCA. Two days later, he brought its lifeless body back, asking for a new one.
“That was a big red flag, interest in adopting another cat so soon. We didn’t know what had happened before; we needed to find out,” Gabbey said.
Police say Lucy was beaten to death. Within two weeks, Weibman got another cat from a Glen Burnie pet store. Hours later, he brought the animal to a vet, bleeding and hemorrhaging.
Charging documents show Weibman is also a suspect in deaths of four other cats he once owned and for injuring a fifth one.
“Most people going to shelters are trying to rescue animals. Seems pretty horrifying he would treat them worse,” said neighbor Chris Ritter.
The case put the rescue community in a frenzy. Messages urging shelters not to adopt cats to Weibman are spreading on Facebook, Craigslist and other national websites.
“These cases are being investigated very zealously and being prosecuted very zealously,” said Caroline Griffin, Animal Abuse Task Force.
The city is dealing with three other high-profile cases where teens tortured or set cats on fire in the streets. Advocates say this one stands alone because of its serial nature and who Weibman is: a wealthy student from New York who grew up in a million dollar home.
WJZ’s media partner, The Baltimore Sun, reports Weibman recently called in to deny the charges, calling them slanderous and false. Wednesday, Weibman’s father said over the phone the family attorney has advised no further comments be issued.
Weibman is out on bail and waiting for a September trial. Meanwhile, a judge ordered him to have no contact with animals and to receive counseling.