New York man gets two years in prison for beheading cat, can’t have pet

ALBANY, NY (WTEN) – A New York man found guilty of brutally killing a cat will spend two years behind bars.

John Gehrlein, 45, was sentenced Thursday morning in Albany County Court.

Prosecutors say Gehrlein committed a heinous act against an innocent creature and for that he should serve the maximum possible sentence.

“So many times these people receive a slap on the wrist and they do not serve serious jail time and this is a bridge crime and I’m happy to see that the judge did the right thing,” Animal Advocate Donna Farnsworth said.

Farnsworth sat in Judge Breslin’s courtroom Thursday morning waiting anxiously for him to make his decision.

She wanted to see that the man behind this gruesome crime got the max amount of time.

“I don’t believe it’s enough but I’m very happy to see that they finally did the full extent of the law,” Farnsworth said.

She’s been following the case since the very beginning.

“It made me completely sick to my stomach in December when I heard about this heinous act.”

Albany Police say on December 21, 2016, they found the cat in the backyard of Gehrlein’s Ryckman Avenue home.

The animal’s head was nearly severed from its body, only being held on by the spinal cord.

Police say he later admitted to doing it, but still hasn’t provided any kind of reasoning behind the malicious attack.

In June, he was convicted by a jury of felony aggravated animal cruelty under Buster’s Law.

At Thursday’s sentencing prosecutors handed over a number of letters from advocates who couldn’t be there on Thursday pleading with the judge to lock him up, explaining that this crime is indicative of what kind of violent and senseless behavior Gehrlein is capable of.

“I’m here representing a lot of people who unfortunately couldn’t be here,” Farnsworth said. “They have to be at their jobs and they’re waiting for my call and it’s going to be a good phone call when I get out of here.”

The judge ordered that once released, Gehrlein will also never be allowed to own an animal ever again. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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