Buckhannon man arrested for allegedly strangling and skinning his pet cat

Editor’s note: This story contains graphic descriptions of animal cruelty from the criminal complaint.

BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County man was arrested Wednesday after allegedly admitting he strangled and skinned his cat.

Bryan Schooley, 38, of Buckhannon, was arrested for animal cruelty, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by Patrolman First Class Angel McCauley with the Buckhannon Police Department, on Aug. 27, McCauley received a call requesting a welfare check on Schooley. The caller stated she had been informed that he had killed and skinned a cat the day prior and was concerned about his mental health.

McCauley contacted Schooley, who allegedly stated that the day before, on Aug. 26, he strangled his pet cat and skinned it to “try his hand at taxidermy.” When asked why he killed his cat, he stated he thought it was sick due to it coughing and that it potentially had rabies. When asked if he had taken the cat to the vet to confirm the sickness, he stated he had not.

According to the report, he said he sat the cat in his lap and then “strangled it to death.” McCauley noticed several lacerations on his hands.

“When asked how he got the lacerations, he stated the cat was scratching him when he was killing it,” McCauley wrote in the report.

When McCauley asked to see the cat’s remains, Schooley was hesitant at first due to the scene being “pretty brutal,” but then agreed to show McCauley and Patrolman Dylan Major, according to the report. Upon entering his residence, Schoolet allegedly “pulled the fur of the cat from the freezer,” the criminal complaint states.

Upshur County Magistrate Mark Davis set bail at $15,000 cash only.

The penalty for a conviction of animal cruelty is imprisonment in a state penitentiary for one to five years and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000.

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