Testimony Begins in Animal Shelter Torture Trial

The cat had escaped a holding area and somehow got trapped in the wall

By Elvira Sakmari and Ray Villeda
|  Wednesday, Nov 9, 2011  |  Updated 12:05 PM CDT
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Day 1 in Animal Shelter Torture Trial

Metroplex Animal Coalition

Tyrone McGill, the former manager of Dallas Animal Services was indicted on felony cruelty, torture for preventing a cat from being freed from inside a wall at the shelter.

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Testimony in the trial of a man accused of leaving a cat to die inside a wall at the Dallas Animal Services shelter began Tuesday in Dallas.

Shelter manager Tyrone McGill, 61, is charged with felony cruelty after a cat died inside a wall at the shelter after somehow getting trapped.

Four witnesses took the stand Tuesday.

Two employees, Kimberly Killebrew and Mark Cooper, both testified they heard the cat crying and trying to free itself. They said when they asked McGill about rescuing the cat he told them it was being worked on.

They told the jury as the days went on, the cat's cries became faint, until eventually they stopped and then a smell started to permeate the employee breakroom.

"That entire breakroom and hall smelled like rotted flesh," Killebrew testified.

Cooper, an animal control officer at the time, said he was afraid to do anything to get the cat out.

"My job would have been at stake had I done that," Cooper said on the stand as the defense continue to ask him why he didn't act. "A manager would have more authority than I do."

Testimony resumes on Wednesday and is expected to last until Thursday.

If McGill is convicted, he could face anywhere from probation to two years in state jail.

NBC 5's Ray Villeda Tweeted from the courtroom on Tuesday. You can follow @RayVilleda on Twitter.

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