Irishman accused of torturing cat in United States

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of an Irishman accused of torturing his roommate’s cat, after it emerged he left the US and returned home.

Banker Declan Garrity, originally from Tyrone, was due to appear in court in Manhattan on Tuesday on animal cruelty charges.

He is accused of ripping out Lucy the cat’s nails, breaking bones in her face, pelvis, and legs, and burning her at the shared Manhattan apartment.

Manhattan Supreme Court heard he left the US after losing his job with Barclays Bank following his arrest, and also therefore his visa to work in the country.

Barclays appear to have paid for his one-way ticket home, according to a report in the New York Daily News, which quoted his termination letter, stating he had to leave or change his status.

But prosecutors were not impressed, with assistant district attorney Erin Satterthwaite telling the court: “This is absolutely a willful and voluntary absence.”

She spoke to officials at the US Department of Homeland Security, who told her there are different procedures when a criminal case is pending.

Defence counsel Telesforo Del Valle told the court Mr Garrity took advice from an immigration lawyer before leaving. The lawyer told him he would be in the US illegally if he didn’t leave, Mr Del Valle said.

Mr Garrity is also charged with criminal contempt after he returned to the apartment to collect his belongings without a police escort, as ordered by the court.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Justice James Burke ordered a bench warrant to be issued for Mr Garrity and revoked his bail.

Mr Garrity is accused of torturing the cat after he moved into the apartment last November.

The 24-year-old was arrested in late February after the cat was found to have suffered broken bones and burns.

In its termination letter, seen by the New York Daily News, Barclay’s human resources department wrote: “It is your obligation to comply with the immigration regulations by either departing the US or applying to US citizenship and immigration services for a change in status to another nonimmigrant visa category as soon as possible.”

It continues: “We understand that your last place of foreign residence is Northern Ireland, UK, We have determined the cost of a one-way, economy fare ticket to Belfast, Ireland is $662.90.”


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