Veterinarian: Cat at center of Carter Co. animal cruelty case had meth in system


CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A man was arrested after a kitten was recovered with a shaved head, cut off whiskers and forcibly removed claws.

According to court documents, Ryan Garland, 31, was arrested on Wednesday after deputies responded to the Carter County Animal Shelter on an animal call.

(Carter County Sheriff’s Office)

Documents say deputies spoke with women who said they had brought a kitten into the shelter and believed it to be abused.

One of the women had discovered the kitten Wednesday morning wrapped in a towel on Garland’s bed, and she had thought it was dead originally.

Source: Paws Animal Wellness Center, LLC.

The kitten was taken to the shelter afterward and the vet tech told law enforcement the kitten’s claws appeared to have been forcibly removed.

“She went through some major torture, jerking a cat’s claw out is like jerking your fingernail or toenail off,” said Shannon Posada, the Director of the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter.

Documents also say the vet tech informed authorities the kitten looked like it had been kicked or thrown against something, based off of its breathing.

Source: Paws Animal Wellness Center, LLC.

The kitten was sent to Paws of Hope Veterinary Clinic for more exams.

One of the women said Garland was the only person around the kitten at the time the abuse could have happened, and he had allegedly said things before about “resolving the issues” regarding a litter of kittens beneath his home.

One of the women also said Garland had told her he did not want anyone to see the kitten.

Courtesy: Caitlyn Charlton

A text message was allegedly shown to authorities from Garland to one of the women that said, “I did have a piece of methadone on my nightstand and I do not see it anymore reckon she could have gotten into that.”

According to a report from the Carter County Sheriff’s Office, when deputies arrived to arrest Garland, he went to his bedroom and grabbed a glass pipe used for smoking drugs.

Courtesy: Caitlyn Charlton

Garland also reportedly grabbed a tin can and a green capsule pill and swallowed the pill, despite being warned not to by authorities.

Garland was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals.

According to the Carter County Sheriff’s Office, Garland’s bond was set at $1,000 and authorities said he did bond out.

Garland is expected to be arraigned in court Monday.

News Channel 11’s Anslee Daniel spoke to Paws of Hope Animal Wellness Center Associate Veterinarian , Brooke Jones, who said in part, “We knew that she had undergone some trauma but her clinical signs actually showed towards being having some drugs on board which we did find that she had been given or forced to have to some methamphetamines.” 

Although the future is unclear for this kitten, the Posada and Jones say that they hope she will be up for adoption soon.

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