Alleged Cat Stomper to Be Tried on Animal Cruelty Charge
Mieczslaw 'Mike' Zwolinski, 60, of the 800 block of Walnut Street, Lansdale, allegedly stomped a cat six times, injuring its ribs and mouth. Lansdale District Judge Harold Borek held a sole charge of animal cruelty for county arraignment.
Mieczslaw "Mike" Zwolinski does not know what a cat looks like. At least, that's what he allegedly told Lansdale Police at the scene of an animal cruelty incident in December.
Zwolinski, 60, of the 800 block of Walnut Street, Lansdale, had one misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals held for formal arraignment in Montgomery County Court on April 24, following a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Lansdale District Court.
Bail was set at $10,000 unsecured for Zwolinski, who spoke broken English and told Borek he was hard of hearing.
Zwolinski was also ordered to stay away from the primary witness at the hearing — who is his neighbor — and the victim, who is also his neighbor.
Lansdale Officer James Owens told Borek on Tuesday that Zwolinski was allegedly harassing primary witness and neighbor Linda Scheetz, to the point where Chief Robert McDyre issued a letter to Zwolinski asking him to stop with the excessive harassment.
"There have been about five to six police calls by Zwolinski. The chief had to send a letter asking him to stop making calls about things in (Scheetz's) yard and code enforcement issues," Owens said.
Owens said there was also a recent confrontation between Zwolinski and Scheetz at Manna on Main Street.
"It's a form of harassment," Owens said.
Borek then made a non-monetary bail condition that Zwolinski must stay five feet away from Scheetz and have no written or oral communication with her or the victim.
"Listen and listen carefully," Borek told Zwolinski. "If you violate your bail by having direct communication verbally, physically or written with the victim or the witness, your bail will be revoked and you will owe $10,000. Don't cross that line."
When Owens arrived at the scene of a reported disturbance on the 800 block of Walnut Street on Dec. 4, Zwolinski "claimed he did not recognize what the animal was" that he allegedly kicked three feet in the air and stomped about nine times, according to the affidavit.
"He stated he thought the animal was trying to get into his front door," states the affidavit. "He admitted kicking the animal, but insisted that he did not know it was a cat."
On Dec. 4, at 5:43 p.m., police responded to a home on the 800 block of Walnut Street, and found several neighbors agitated and upset, according to the criminal complaint.
Scheetz told police that she was speaking with Zwolinski on the sidewalk in front of her home on the same block of Walnut Street. Suddenly, they heard Zwolinski's dog yelp from his front yard, located about four houses down, according to the affidavit.
Scheetz told police Zwolinski went to see what was happening and found his dog had partially escaped from behind his fenced-in yard, according to the complaint.
Police said Scheetz told them that Zwolinski allegedly saw a blonde tabby cat in his yard.
Zwolinski said "F-cking cat," and allegedly kicked the cat three feet off the ground, police said.
Zwolinski allegedly stomped the cat six times, police said. The cat tried to run away, but Zwolinski allegedly kicked it again and yelled, "I want that f-cking cat out of here!" police said.
Scheetz testified Tuesday that the cat was on Zwolinski's doorstep, and she initially thought it was her cat, Carmel.
"He kicked it again and it hit the doorframe," Scheetz testified, "and he stomped it three more times."
Scheetz told Zwolinski to stop, but he didn't, police said. He kept asking Scheetz if it was her cat, and she told him it wasn't, police said.
"He said, 'Is this your f'ing cat?' and I said 'Shut up and leave me alone. It doesn't matter whose it is,'" Scheetz testified Tuesday.
Another resident told Scheetz and Zwolinski that the cat belonged to her mother, Margaret Dawson, police said.
Dawson's daughter told police that the cat — Blondie, aged 15 — rarely got out of the house and that it was declawed, police said.
"The cat was bleeding from his face," Scheetz testified. "I called my son to come out and we got a neighbor to identify the cat. It was hissing and growling at me. It was breathing heavy and crying."
Dawson took Blondie to Aark Animal Hospital in Hilltown, which resulted in $449 in medical treatment, police said.
The cat was diagnosed with a bloody mouth and pain to its ribs, police said.
Dawson testified Tuesday that she was not around at the time of the incident. She said she took the cat to the vet for treatment and medication. Owens provided evidence in the form of MRI copies, a written diagnosis and copies of the bill and receipts fo payment.
"Blondie was put on a 48-hour death watch," said Dawson at the hearing. "He couldn't sleep. He stood up all night long. I dropped him off at the vet, so they could watch him while I was working. They gave him pain medications."
Dawson said, by the next week, Blondie was dragging his leg and couldn't lay down.
"He stood up sleeping for about a week," she said at the hearing. "The vet told me in all probability, because of his age and severity of the injuries to his kidneys and lungs, he could go into early kidney failure."
She said Blondie, who she has raise since he was eight weeks old, has been using his litter box more and drinking water more, but he is an "old kitty."
"His mouth was all torn up and swollen," she said.
Zwolinski's public defender John Chambers asked if Blondie was "just a pet" and "not a service dog or anything" like that. Dawson said no, he was a pet.
Dawson told Chambers that she was "taking the vet's word" when it came to treating Blondie with pain medications.
Borek said the incident met the definition of animal cruelty, and held the misdemeanor charge for trial.
"It's not a killing, but there was testimony of close to death," Borek said.
After the hearing, Dawson said she felt justice is being done.
"He's not 100 percent," she said of Blondie, "but he's doing good."