A cat dies, a sceptic is born

A cat dies, a sceptic is born January 26, 2012

FACED with the realisation that her pet cat had died after a grim encounter with a pastor, a five-year-old Central Texas girl – on being told that her pet, Moody, was now “in heaven” – declared:

I don’t believe in Heaven anymore, Moody’s just dead.

Moody died after falling, or having been thrown off a 40ft-high bridge by Rick Bartlett, pastor of the Bastrop Christian Church. He now faces a charge of animal cruelty which could result in a $4,000 dollar fine and a year’s imprisonment.

He trapped the child’s pet in a cage after having had trouble with feral cats in his garden. He then placed Moody in his pick-up truck, where it was “forgotten” for three days.
The pastor then drove the cat to the police.
An animal protection officer  noticed a name tag, including the phone number of Moody’s owners, Sarah and Eddy Bell, on the cat’s collar. The officer offered to take Moody back to his owners but police said Bartlett told them he’d take the cat back himself since they were his neighbours.
The kitschy sign outside the Bartletts’ Bastrop home
Later on the same day, a park visitor discovered Moody’s near lifeless body on the bank of the Colorado River, some 40-50 feet below the bridge.
There is a possibility that the animal had jumped from the truck, rather than having been thrown, but but in the eyes of the law, the animal cruelty charges are the same since Bartlett admitted to police that the animal was in his care.
Moody was Sarah and Eddy Bell’s cat for 11 years.  They said that trying to explain his death to their daughter has proved “challenging”.
Update: The heartless pastor was later sentenced to a year of probation for animal cruelty.
County-at-law Judge Terry Flenniken gave Bartlett a six-month jail sentence, then suspended it. He also ordered Bartlett to perform 50 hours of community service. Bartlett did not comment after the sentencing.
Hat tip: Remigius

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  • AgentCormac


  • remigius

    The excuse that the cat jumped off the bridge does seem reasonable. If I was trapped in a truck with a fuckwit god-botherer I think I’d rather take my chances with the Colorado River.

  • Don

    Interesting comments on that article. Many along the lines of ‘It was a bad thing, but at least one child has seen through religious hypocrisy.’

  • Broga

    I wonder what Bartlett is doing to the feral cats he traps. He sounds deceitful and lying and a fair representation of his fundie religion. Cats are, as we all know, the familars of witches so maybe Barti is taking the opportunity of revenge on the devil’s agents.

  • Daz

    Broga, that’s actually a good point. Several commenters at Pharyngula on the same story allude, apparently seriously, to cats being unsafe because of fundies.
    Not religion-related, but here’s another dead-cat story someone linked there.

  • Stonyground

    Options for dealing with this idiot.
    1) March into his church during his Sunday morning sermon and give him a severe kicking, explain to his congregation why you did it and then face the consequences.
    2) Lock him in a cage, starve him for three days and then throw him off a bridge.
    3) Lock him in a cage with a really big kitty that has been starved just enough to be really hungry.
    4) Make him the subject of an S&M video
    5) Use the legal route and take him for a huge amount of money.
    Options 1,2, 3 & 4 may involve posting videos on the web.

  • Angela_K

    As much as I would like an animal rights fundie to give this bastard the opportunity to find out that there is no life after death, it is better he faces the humiliation of appearing in court and in the Press. I wonder if his defence will be god told me to do it?

  • Hermes

    Here’s an idea. Get a dozen of these;
    Plant them around the cleric’s house. It would be perfect if the sounds were cat sounds, of course.

  • gsw

    “They said that trying to explain his death to their daughter has proved “challenging”.”
    Why? Dear daughter, some men are nice and some are cat-murdering bastards, this is a prime example of the later.
    Be wary of so-called ‘Men of God’ who claim to know a truth they cannot possibly know, oh and if he touches you, bite and scream and scratch and kick – all at once.
    See, simple.

  • john c

    Would personaly like an experiment to see if the pastor can land on his feet after being dropped off a bridge, unless of course , his god chooses to save him halfway down , in which case,he is free to go.

  • Robster

    Should people be surprised by this piece of nastiness? We’re dealing with a man who lies professionally, a man who talks to his godly imaginary friend (still waiting for a reply), who believes in talking snakes, that bits of toast become the lord at Sunday brunch and a whole catalog of other childish wierdness. This kind of behaviour is expected from these people and for that reason, those that subscribe, should be separated from ‘normal” people in a special place where they can spend endless hours trying to confirm each others nonsense beliefs.

  • saam

    Bastrop is pretty much an ash tray after all those horrible fires. I’m sure learning that your pastor tortures cats isn’t going to help boost community morale.

  • Ed-words

    Not a great reason for dumping religion, but she’s only five.
    She’ll learn better ones as she grows up.
    (Bastrop is a mostly upscale town near Austin,where Gov. Oops
    lives.1500 homes burned down there in terrible drought-inspired
    brush fires.The guv’s prayers for rain have gotten scattered