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Man Livestreams Torture of Neighbor's Cat on Facebook, DA Says

By Nicholas Rizzi | July 14, 2017 4:31pm | Updated on August 10, 2017 1:50pm

STATEN ISLAND — A local man beat his neighbor's cat with a stick, cut it with a knife and threw a chair it while livestreaming it on Facebook, authorities said.

Tyrike Richardson, 21, tortured his neighbor's cat, Chester, inside his South Beach apartment on June 29 after the feline scratched his hand, prosecutors said.

"I reached under my bed and I felt a scratch and I saw the cat was in my apartment," Richardson told police, according to his criminal complaint.

Richardson claimed he didn't know Chester was his neighbor's cat and first tried to coax him out with food, but turned violent when the animal wouldn't leave.

In a video Richardson streamed live from his phone, he repeatedly hit Chester in the head and body with a stick, cut him with a knife on his face and threw a chair at him, prosecutors said.

After the torture, Richardson put Chester in a trash can and left it outside, prosecutors said. There was also a 2-year-old child in the room at the time.

Chester was later found and taken to an ASPCA veterinarian on June 30 and is still in treatment a month later, prosecutors said.

The abuse caused rib fractures, broken teeth, tongue abrasions, liver and kidney injuries, head trauma, severe muscle injury, bruising on the ear, as well as causing air to leak out of his lungs and into his chest cavity, according to the complaint.

"How did you find the video?" Richardson asked officers when he was arrested. 

Richardson was arrested on July 13 and hit with a three-count indictment Aug. 9 for aggravated cruelty to animals; overdriving, torturing and injuring animals and abandonment of animals, the Staten Island District Attorney's office said. His bail was set at $50,000.

"Animal cruelty is an unacceptable crime and my office will continue to vigorously prosecute those who do harm to defenseless creatures," District Attorney Michael McMahon said in a statement.

Contact information for his lawyer was not immediately available.

Richardson was arrested 12 times before, but a spokeswoman for the NYPD could not say for what.

Last year, the DA teamed up with the ASPCA to start a dedicated unit to prosecute animal abusersthe second of its kind in the city — who are far more likely to commit other violent crimes in the future.