A Massachusetts man has been arrested in connection with attacks on multiple cats in Cambridge, including one that was fatal, authorities said.
A landlord and maintenance man said that video shared with NBC10 Boston shows a trail of cat food they say the man who was arrested left behind to lure cats into his first-floor apartment to abuse them.
It had "open cat food containers and bowls of milk spread out through the apartment in each room," said Dana Petrillo, who does maintenance at the Hurley Street building where Rashad Gober lives
Gober, 31, was arrested accused of torturing four cats, killing one of them, between March and May 2021.
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“Today’s news is the breakthrough that animal lovers across Massachusetts have been waiting for since May," Neal Litvack, president and CEO of the MSPCA, said in a written statement.
In May, Gosha, a 6-year-old tuxedo cat, was found dead in Cambridge, tortured and shot with a BB gun. Gosha was found with his back legs taped together, missing large amounts of fur, and had 11 BBs removed from his body.
An investigation led police to believe that two other attacks on cats in the area may have been carried out by the same person. In those incidents, the cats survived. In one case in March, a BB gun was used to injure the cat.
In May, a cat named Buddy suffered chemical burns. In that case, police say that Gosha claimed he found Buddy in his backyard and brought it in his apartment for medical attention.
According to police, Gober had reached out to Buddy's owner through social media to reunite the owner with the cat. But after an investigation, police and the MSPCA say, they found evidence on Gober's phone and apartment that suggested he was the perpetrator.
Gober was arrested in his home on Thursday morning. He pleaded not guilty to four counts of animal cruelty during a hearing Thursday in Cambridge District Court.
He is being held without bail until a dangerousness hearing on July 7.
“We recognize and can understand the great alarm these cases caused to the East Cambridge community and particularly to the cat owners,” Cambridge Police Department Commissioner Branville G. Bard, Jr. said in a statement.
"I hope today’s news offers a collective sigh of relief for the citizens of Cambridge who’ve demonstrated patience and understanding during the investigative process,” said Tom Grenham, MSPCA director of law enforcement, said in a statement.
Petrillo said he made the connection to the attacks when he saw a flier on a pole, then noticed BB pellets in the basement below Gober’s apartment.
"There was cat food cans open in the yard right near the barrels and a camera over there facing the barrels like he was trying to catch a cat," he said.
The landlord, Walter Tauro, speculated that Gober may have been trying to catch cats with sticky traps as well.
“There were all sticky traps for rats and mice in the yard. Cat food all around it. I said, 'Why are you trying to catch a rat or mouse with cat food?' He didn’t answer me,” Tauro said.
Gober made dozens of suspicious searches online, like “keeping cat hostage abused,” “what happens if you throw ammonia on a cat” and “cat cruelty video clips,” according to police.