Cat Killer’s Parole Denied, Victim Thanks Supporters

Posted by Megan Backus, ALDF's Media Relations Associate on March 2, 2011

In 2008, Russell Swigart broke into his former co-worker’s home and brutally stabbed two of her cats to death. Swigart was the first person in Northern Kentucky to be charged with felony animal torture (thanks to Romeo’s Law) and was sentenced to a 12 year prison term in December 2009. However, less than two and half years into his sentence Swigart became eligible for parole.

Determined to keep him behind bars the cats’ guardian, Bridgett Wright, started a petition on Change.org and with the help of an ALDF alert, was able to collect more than 15,000 signatures. The massive outpouring of support sent a clear message to lawmakers that animal abuse is a crime that should be taken seriously.

On February 15th Russell Swigart’s parole was denied and Bridgett sent us this letter to express her deep gratitude to all of her supporters.

I am happy to report the Kentucky Parole Board honored my request and denied "Cat Killer" Russell Swigart’s parole! He will not be eligible for parole again until February 2013.

I attended my victim’s hearing armed with over 15,700 signatures from my loyal supporters! I was asking for Swigart to serve out the remainder of his 12 year sentence. The Parole Board seemed genuinely concerned about my well-being and definitely took the information I shared with them into consideration. Swigart faced the same board today (Feb. 15) at Northpoint Training Center in Burgin, Kentucky, where he is serving his sentence. After a quick deliberation, the board informed him that his parole was being denied and gave him a 2 year deferment (which was the maximum they were able to issue, based on current laws).

I am deeply indebted to all of the supporters who signed my petition! I would also like to thank The Kentucky Parole Board for sending a strong message that Kentucky’s victims do matter! Also, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to ALDF for rallying so many participants for my petition and generating awareness of my story! Today’s victory for animal rights and women’s rights can be attributed to all of you!

I set up a Facebook page dedicated to my cause and in memory of Mr. Frank & Piggy. I will continue to update supporters with any relevant information about my case and advocate for animal rights. I will need your help again in 2 years, when Swigart comes up for parole! I invite you to connect with me on Facebook.

I would like to close with a note to my babies…

I am so sorry Frankie and Piggy, for the terrible fear and pain you felt that night when Mommy wasn’t home. I would have been there to protect you from that awful man, had I known he was out to hurt us. I miss you so much and cherish the memories we made together for almost 8 years. Mommy has been fighting for justice for your precious lives since you went to the Rainbow Bridge. Your bravery has touched the lives of many people from around the world. I am honored to be your Mom! Rest in peace until we meet again sweet souls, XoXo.


17 thoughts on “Cat Killer’s Parole Denied, Victim Thanks Supporters

  1. Thank you SO much for sharing my story! I will be an ALDF supporter–for life.

  2. salamanderspirit says:

    How horrible for you to have endured this, Ms. Wright. I am happy to hear that there are places in North America where animal abusers are FINALLY getting the prison sentences they deserve.

  3. Heather Elliott says:

    God Bless and keep all who were involved in keeping this killer behind bars. After all the public scrutiny of the justice system, it is extremely refreshing to me to hear a case where the law defended and continues to defend the victims.
    Sincerely,
    Heather Elliott

  4. I always have liked the ALDF, and the support of Bridgett confirms it. ALDF is the best!

  5. Laura says:

    This is wonderful news! Let me add my strong support for the ALDF, who in 2005, fought (and won) the good fight in NC, leading to new and much better lives for over 400 dogs who no longer had to live in a puppy mill. We adopted two sweet dachsies who will never again have to face living in a cage without love, thanks to the ALDF!

  6. Elizabeth Guapyassu says:

    I would like to thank you Ms. Wright to fight so hard for Frankie and Piggy. In 2013 if you need more signatures and you can use Facebook or other mean to get them (because I live far from you), you can count on me. Keep fighting, every day, every hour, they deserve it, they deserve all the love we can give. I will pray for them and for sure they are happily playing waiting for the time to be reunited. A big hug for you and keep going counting on the ones on your side…

  7. Patrick M. Donovan says:

    I can only imagine the pain you feel. It would be a much better world if people remembered that: The basic issue is simple: “The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But, can they suffer?” (Jeremy Bentham, philosopher and animal rights activist; 1748-1832.)

  8. Taryn says:

    Her statement truly wrenched at my heart. I’m so sorry for her loss, but I’m so happy that so many THOUSANDS of people came to her side in their honor. If only all pets had a mama like this :)

  9. Lynn Nelson says:

    I can only begin to imagine what it would be like to lose 2 of my kitties esp. like it happened to Ms Wright.
    I applaud her courage and determination to keep the ‘sick killer’ behind bars.
    if u ever need a petition from this site just put it on and i’m sure you’ll get thousands to sign it to keep the murder where he belongs, tho we know it’ll never make up for your loss.
    You are an inspiration to us all.

  10. regina galente says:

    It is about time someone pays for cruelty to animals…it is a start to a long road but none-the-less a start. It was aweful what you and your kitties had to endure and he should be ethanized like they do to so many strays in this country. It kills me to think we put innocent animals to sleep and yet the real animals like the one you put behind bars has the opportunity to live after commiting such a horrible crime.

  11. Reneda Baer says:

    Thank you Ms. Wright for the update. I was pleased to have the opportunity to sign the petition.

    I extend my sincere sympathy in the loss of your babies. Your letter to them brought tears to my eyes. I can’t imagine how horrible this whole experience had to have been for you [and your babies]. However, your determination and bravery brought justice for their deaths and has kept a dangerous man behind bars for a while longer.

    I live in SW Indiana and would be glad to help in any way I can in the future.

    Thank you for sharing this with us and fighting for all you’ve achieved.

    Thank you,
    Reneda Baer

  12. Chris Erskine says:

    I am very pleased with the parole board outcome. Hopefully, we will be there for the next signing to keep him in prison.

    Thank you for taking your tragedy and making positive steps for change. The lives of your kitties have been honored in a very special way.

  13. Lena diana says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss and I am so happy to learn that bastard’s parole was denied. I will stand by you in your support to see that he never gets out. God Bless you and God Bless your precious babies that man took from you….I will keep you in my prayers.

  14. Lisa says:

    I am soooooo sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing your story. I was honored to sign the petition. Your letter brought tears to my eyes. I have to say YEAAAAAAAAAAAAA that the evil Russell Swigarts parole was denied!!!! To be honest with you, he doesn’t deserve even that but we’ll take it, right?!! As long as he isn’t out there doing any more evil. HOOO-RAAA FOR JUSTICE!!! PROTECT AND RESPECT!!!

  15. Karen S. Tucker says:

    I am SO sorry for your loss. I have a cat, named Tiger that I love very dearly and can imagine what you’ve been going through. I would kill anyone who harmed or killed my cat, Tiger. I am happy that the ignorant so-called human being that murdered your cats was denied parole.

  16. Susan says:

    What a horrific violent crime committed by that subhuman lunatic. It is past time that animal cruelty laws reflect the heinous nature of these despicable acts of cowardice against animals and increase the penalties accordingly. Twelve years for what this monster did is not nearly enough. One can only hope he suffers “jail justice” and that karma will extract further justice for these two innocent lives lost. I will be watching for an opportunity to sign another petition in two years to keep this deranged, disgusting and dangerous excuse for a human being away from civilized society.

  17. Valerie Byrd says:

    YAY! I’m so glad the petition made a difference. You are courageous and you are a survivor! Love and light to you and your two furry angels,now and forever,honey! xoxoxo

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