Derek North, 19, holds a picture of his cat Pudge outside the Law Courts on Oct. 7, 2014. The cat was killed and cooked by family friend Zachary Allen McKinnon.
Photograph by: Ryan Cormier , Edmonton Journal
Zachary Allen McKinnon cut the cat into pieces and placed them in a skillet over an open fire in the Mill Creek Ravine on Feb. 13, court heard.
“This was a brutal and senseless killing of an innocent and defenceless animal,” provincial court Judge Donna Groves said. “These activities are so egregious, they fall into the category of unspeakable.”
Sixteen years ago, the North family brought the cat — named Pudge — into their home as a kitten to be a companion to their infant son Derek. Now 19, Derek North can barely talk about his longtime pet.
“He was like my brother,” he said as he held up a photo of the cat. “I lost a brother.”
Heather North said her family felt “violated” to lose Pudge to a friend of the family who’d once lived with them.
“You can’t imagine what happened to us after a family member was taken and brutally killed,” she said in a tearful victim impact statement. “He was helpless and couldn’t defend himself.”
That day, McKinnon visited the North home and stole Pudge. McKinnon carried the cat in his backpack to another friend’s house, then placed him in a pet carrier. At about 6 p.m., McKinnon and two other young men went to the ravine.
Shortly after, firefighters were called to a small fire in the ravine. McKinnon told firefighters he and his friends had been “messing around,” but the fire was out. McKinnon also mentioned there was a dead cat nearby that appeared to have been killed by a coyote.
Firefighters found the mutilated remains next to a bloodied knife and a pair of scissors. Pieces of the cat were in a skillet.
“The cat was still warm,” prosecutor Christian Lim told court. “It was crudely gutted. This was torture.”
McKinnon later admitted to police that he’d stabbed the cat repeatedly. Court also heard that McKinnon had previously researched how to drain a cat of blood for the purposes of cooking.
Court heard that Derek North had never taken the missing iPad that started McKinnon’s revenge plot.
In court, McKinnon stood and read an apology letter to the North family.
“Nothing I did that day was OK. Nothing I did that day was right. I made a huge mistake. I stand here and ask your forgiveness and offer my deepest apologies.”
After his 10-month sentence, McKinnon will be on probation for three years. He is banned from pet ownership for a decade.