WARNING: This story contains disturbing details of animal cruelty that some may find difficult to read.
An Edmonton woman is looking for a new home after she said hers was invaded, trashed and her beloved cat tortured and killed in a microwave.
Erica Piche was away for a birthday camping trip in the last weekend of April when she says her rental near 109 Avenue and 153 Street in the High Park neighbourhood was broken into.
She came home on Monday, May 1 expecting to send the kids off to school and go to work. Instead, she discovered a giant mess.
“The first thing, as soon as we walked in, I smelled something real bad,” Piche said. She noticed her greenhouse had been trashed and all the plants knocked down.
She had three cats, so at first, she figured one of them got into the greenhouse. But then she noticed things were moved and other messes were made.
“There were things on the ground that weren’t there, and I had fully cleaned my house that Friday morning, so I knew none of this mess was me.”
She found writing on her bathroom walls and the floors were wet. She turned to attend to one of her children and that’s when she made the most horrific discovery.
“I turned around from the back door and I saw my cat,” she said, explaining it was in the microwave. ” The door was open and my cat was half hanging out. I thought maybe he was sleeping or something.”
But she reached out to touch the animal and immediately knew he was dead.
She quickly realized the her seven-month-old cat Cheech had been killed by someone. She said the timer had 16 or 17 minutes left blinking on it when she found it.
Piche has a hard time talking about what she saw, but knew the cat had been tortured before being microwaved.
“There was blood everywhere. If you saw him, you would think that’s exactly what happened.”
“It was a very bad sight. It’s one image I’m never going to get out of my head.”
She said the house itself wasn’t damaged except for a broken window, and believes her two older cats escaped through there when strangers appeared in the house. But Cheech was still a baby, curious and trusting.
“He was the craziest little kitty in the whole entire world. He knew how to fight. He knew how to stand his ground. But he also was the most cuddling, caring cat there was, too. He was only seven months old.”
Piche grabbed her daughter and fled to the neighbours’ house, shocked at her home being invaded and cat being killed.
Piche called her landlord and police, and said officers arrived about 40 minutes later.
In addition to the cat being killed, Piche said her television was smashed, food was thrown around, plants were destroyed, the microwave and its stand were ruined, and someone took defecated on the floor and spread it around.
“I don’t think the cops noticed this, but they pooped on my carpet. All my carpets are all ruined.”
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Piche said her kids are scared of the house now and terrified to sleep in it, so she is now looking for a new home to rent. Her daughters didn’t see what happened to Cheech — something she is grateful for.
“I just say he’s in a better place now. Things happen, but he’s in a better place. That’s all that matters.
“I will never tell them exactly what happened. It’s way too much for them. My kids are bigger animal lovers than I am, which I didn’t think was possible.”
Piche is stressed with the process of trying to find a new home and struggling to understand why the crime happened.
“This is weird for me. I don’t hang out with people or associate with people this bad ever in my life. To come home to this, it’s mind-blowing to see that people can be cruel to animals like that.”
At first, she was in shock: “Then I was sad and then I was mad — and I’m still in the mad phase right now.
“It hurts. I miss him every day.”
Piche had just moved into the rental about seven months ago, shortly after adopting the kitten. She said breaking in and making a mess is one thing — but torturing a cat is another level.
“This is absolutely insane what happened,” she said, noting there is some crime in the area so she had good locks but hadn’t installed any cameras yet.
“I’m pretty sure I would have been able to get over the whole break-in and, like, get better security. But the animal part, that’s sick. I honestly can’t believe people were able to do that.”
The Edmonton Police Service was unable to provide any additional information other than to say it received a report about the incident on Monday, May 1 and the animal cruelty unit is investigating.
The unit was launched in 2021, when the police service said research has proven violence towards animals and people are often interconnected and that the presence of animal cruelty and its level of severity may play a role in being able to predict other types of violent behavior.
“This violence can include homicide, sexual assault, arson, family violence and child abuse, and is often described as ‘The Violence Link,’” the unit’s website said.
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