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A Fergus Falls Man is Charged with a Felony for Allegedly Killin - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

A Fergus Falls Man is Charged with a Felony for Allegedly Killing his Cat

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Two cases are highlighting an un-level playing field in Minnesota when it comes to different forms of abuse. A Moorhead man is charged with child neglect or endangerment, malicious punishment of a child, and domestic assault. All misdemeanor charges for allegedly beating a teenage girl. Gilbert Sifuentes  is accused of hitting the girl multiple times with a belt and punching her multiple times over a four-month period. Meanwhile in Fergus Falls a man is charged with a more severe penalty, a felony, for killing a cat that he shared with his girlfriend. Valley News team's Eric Crest brings us to Fergus Falls to find out if the penalty is just.

On Thursday morning the Fergus Falls Police department got the call.

"It's one of those events that we don't deal with very often. And when the public hears about it or witnesses it they're concerned and upset," says Sgt. Connor West of the Fergus Falls Police.

26-year-old Keith Dement had an argument with his girlfriend and when their shared cat became part of that argument, he allegedly sharpened a butcher knife and killed it.

"The body of the cat was located by the Otter Tail river in Fergus Falls and the suspect was arrested," says Sgt. West.

But Dement was not just arrested, he was also charged with a felony.

"It's a rare occurrence that somebody actually gets charges put down and actually gets caught for it," says Humane Society Shelter manager Jaclyn Keenan.

At the Humane Society in Fergus Falls Keenan says she hopes this news reaches people so they understand the consequences of torturing an animal.

"I hope that people hear it. Because there are consequences and you need to take responsibility for an animal that you own. You have to care for it," adds Keenan. 

Because while mans best friend might be a nuisance from time to time. The consequences of abusing them or taking it to that next horrible level could really cost you.

"Under Minnesota state statue there is a felony statue for torture of an animal," says Sgt. West.

"You have to realize that that will follow you and hopefully it's a deterrent for people," says Keenan.

Because in many circumstances including the one in Moorhead recently, raising your hand to  a child, might just warrant a misdemeanor charge.

Keith Dement of Fergus Falls is currently being held at the Otter Tail county Detention Center, and if he is convicted of animal cruelty that felony charge could follow him around for life.
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