PD: Man uses sledgehammer to kill cats in north Phoenix

PHOENIX - A north Phoenix man says he couldn't find an adoption center to take his cats so he killed them with a sledgehammer.

Phoenix Police report that Wednesday night they were called by a neighbor who saw 54-year-old James Henry Fox pounding something in the dirt outside his home. The neighbor thought he was digging until he saw a black and white cat trying to crawl away from him.

Realizing the neighbor had seen what he had done, Fox allegedly grabbed the cat and left the animal in a car.

When police arrived they say they saw blood in the area where Fox was pounding the dirt. They also allegedly saw a sledgehammer on the front patio with blood and fur on it. Also on the patio was a black trash bag. When police looked inside they reportedly saw another cat inside who had also been killed.

David Owen, a man who lives across the street from the suspect, says he was beyond shocked to see his neighbor beating a cat with a hammer.

"I didn't always live on the right side of the train tracks," Owen said. "I've seen some pretty ugly stuff in some really, real neighborhoods but I have never seen anything like that."

Owen called the police after "screaming something that probably can't be said here on TV," he explained. 

"He (the suspect) just gave me a look like, 'Don't worry about it — I got it. I'll take it from here,'" Owen said.

Fox soon returned home and reportedly told police that he tried to get someone to adopt the cats but no places would take them. He said, "he would have been prosecuted if he just let them go and he didn't want that."

Owen said he would've considered taking the cats if he was asked. 

He was arrested on animal cruelty charges.

Maricopa County Animal Care & Control told ABC15 they accept owner-surrendered cats, however, it requires a $51 fee.  

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