New York Man Receives Jail Term for Setting Cat On Fire

Posted on March 26, 2014

ALDF Pays Reward to Witnesses Who Helped Convict Suspect in Felony Cruelty Case

For immediate release:

Megan Backus, ALDF

cat-CC-Emi-Yanez-article-image-500pxBROOKLYN — Yesterday, Denzell Oglesby, a defendant charged with aggravated animal cruelty, was sentenced to one year in jail after a reward offer from the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) induced four Brooklyn witnesses to cooperate with the investigation. In People v. Oglesby, Oglesby was charged with animal cruelty in the Kings County Supreme Court by District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson and Deputy District Attorney Dianne E. Malone, after Oglesby set fire to an orange tabby cat named Michael. Oglesby pled guilty to aggravated animal abuse under New York’s Agriculture and Markets Law and will serve one year in jail on that charge (he will serve an additional year for bail jumping and attempted burglary). The defendant is also prohibited by court order from owning, living with, or having any control or custody over an animal for five years. In July of 2013, the Animal Legal Defense Fund offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of the person responsible for Michael’s suffering. As a result of ALDF’s reward fliers, four witnesses came forward with information, and the reward will be split among them. Out of concern for their safety, their identities will not be revealed.

In a February plea hearing, the defendant admitted that he used liquid accelerant to set Michael on fire in the stairwell of an apartment building. Michael was discovered by good Samaritans and brought to the North Shore Animal League. Sadly, despite heroic efforts by Dr. Mark Verdino and veterinary staff, Michael had to be humanely euthanized to relieve intense suffering from deep tissue burn injuries—the fire had torn through Michael’s fur and skin and melted his claws. The defendant’s conduct fulfilled New York’s statutory requirement for aggravated cruelty, because Oglesby acted in a depraved and sadistic manner with intent to cause extreme pain. New York Detective Anthony Schembri led the investigation of the case and tracked down eyewitnesses after tracing a crucial 911 call. The suspect was identified in a photo array, and he is also suspected of killing a neighbor’s cat prior to Michael’s death.

“While it pleases me that this office was able to bring this defendant to justice, the circumstances of Michael’s death are horrible and underscore the need for increased criminal penalties for perpetrators of such acts of violence and increased government funding of humane law enforcement efforts,” wrote Deputy District Attorney Malone after the plea hearing.

“Sadly, it is rare to see meaningful jail terms imposed in cases like these,” observed Scott Heiser, director of ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program and former elected district attorney from Oregon. “This case has proven to be the exception, thanks to the true dedication and fantastic work of Detective Investigator Schembri, former Deputy District Attorney Malone, and Kings County District Attorney Thompson.”

“In this case, the justice system worked and this abuser is being held accountable for his terrible act of cruelty,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of ALDF. “Although this tragedy sickens us, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is happy to pay out this reward—we hope it encourages witnesses to come forward in the future to report and help prevent further acts of cruelty.”

51 thoughts on “New York Man Receives Jail Term for Setting Cat On Fire

  1. jacqueline says:

    merci de l’avoir condamné à la prison. Mais il aurait dû ne plus avoir le droit de posséder un animal à vie car il recommencera.

    1. I really think that this guy should have gotten 5 years in jail instead of only serving one year. He should have been added to an animal abuse registry because under NY Buster’s law he intended to harm this cat and did not care about the consequences. It is because of cases like this that I am a part time criminal justice major at hudson Valley community college so I can get my assoicates in applied sciences for criminal justice so i can be a animal cruelty investigator.

  2. Terry says:

    I think if the animal dies they should be charged with murder and serve time as if they killed a human being. How can anybody be that sick to do that to a cat. He should never be aloud to own any animals again.

    1. Doreen says:

      He shouldn’t ‘t even be allowed to walk this earth. Nothing but a worthless POS!!!!

    2. Angel says:

      I whole heartily agree with you!! Anyone that would do something like that to a helpless animal is a monster.

  3. Elaine Thomas says:


  4. Carolyn Collins says:

    I am very grateful to ALDF for all their humane work and sending animal abusers to prison rightfully so. This man should not be allowed to have an animal EVER! Not for just 5 years.

  5. Lauren Barrows says:

    This monster should NEVER be allowed to own animals; he is sick, disgusting & perverted.

  6. Paula McMahon says:

    This man should NEVER own another animal!

  7. Cher Young says:

    This is supposed to be punishment? Just another slap, 1 lousy year that probably turns into all of 3 months.
    Banned for 5 years…pathetic and just as repulsive as what he did to that poor cat & possibly others!
    I hope and pray I live long enough to see the day when punishment for animal abusers truly fits this crime!

  8. Are you for real? This punk sets fire to a cat, witnesses are afraid–and he gets ONE YEAR? Am I reading this right? If that isn’t enough, he can’t own an animal for FIVE years–how about never?

  9. Renate says:

    for such an sadistic pervert a many years sentence would be even not enough but I a glad he got one year without parole I should believe.
    I find the sentence for such an crime and cruelty on animals should be raised to the max.
    In my understanding an innocent Cat or Dog is the some like a human being,a Baby, they are beings and have the right to be treated with love and respect.
    I can´t see any difference between setting an innocent Baby an fire or to an Cat or Dog.
    He must go for many years in prison and for life time not to be allowed to have an animal.His crime and face must be made public so everyone can see the sadistic Cat killer.

  10. Ann says:

    Anyone that does this kind of thing is a sociopath. I’m sure he has done this countless times. Killing an innocent animal is uncomprehensible. And I think most people have learned that this behavior ecsalates to bigger animals and finally, humans. Every town should make it mandatory that animal abusers, just like sexual predators,register.

    1. Mystry says:

      I think your idea of being on an animal abuse registry is brilliant! This means that shelters, rescue facilities and legal breeders would have a place to look before adopting out or giving a loving pet to anyone. I know we have an application process but, this would be welcomed in any society if it means the safety of our pets.

  11. Rodney Quiatchon says:

    Awesome! I wish it was the death penalty for that bastard.

  12. meryl burke says:

    Still need 4852 more signatures, please sign right now, if you want to see stronger enforcement to protect animals:

  13. Emily Tilley says:

    My thanks to each and everyone who worked so hard to bring this evil man to justice. While it won’t bring the poor cat back maybe it will make others think twice before they act on it.

  14. Isis walker says:

    Burning in Hell in extreme agony forever is too good for him.

    1. Jo Ann Wyatt says:

      This disturbingly sick individual should be shown the same fate he bestowed upon this innocent little cat!!!! So he can never do this again!!!!

  15. Janet in Cambridge MA says:

    Unfortunately, he doesn’t have to own or have custody of an animal to do this again. But I am very pleased to see that the police and prosecutors and judges are taking these heinous incidents more seriously. Thank you ALDF for pursuing these witnesses and for pursuing animal legal welfare. We need you to keep pushing hard.

  16. Sasja de Leur says:

    Iam glad that the mans is in jail. He may stay there during the rest of his life.

  17. David L White says:

    Setting this scumbag on fire is too good!

  18. veronica brand says:

    If he is coming out in 5 years time then he needs rehabilitating to prevent any more harm to animals.This is an important aspect too .It is good that there are now consequences for animal cruelty its a great step forward, and well done ALDF , now what about a rehabilitation programme in prison…

  19. Alice says:

    I just hope that his fellow inmates find out why he is in jail. I am sure many of them had a cat they adored…..

  20. Sly Stevens says:

    They need courts designed for animal cruelty cases,to help get sick scum like this off the streets and in prison but they should get death penalties who wants to pay and take care of them. Eye for and eye death for death. Let the public burn him and see how he feels like the animals he hurt. This is not fair cut his hands off if he able to have animals 5yrs from now how dumb is that. That’s a slap on the wrist. May the animals haunt him and accidentally catch him on fire..

    1. Mystry says:

      I have to agree with you….an eye for an eye for both animals and humans. It would make society more aware of our criminals and less apt to pay for them to live in a prison system on our dime. Praise to any judge, jury, attorney or defense team that gets this passed in our society!!! I’m with you!

  21. Louise says:

    I will never understand WHY the JAIL TIME is not longer???

    Do people realize that according to Psychiatrists that these people are probably going to do this to an innocent child? They are SOCIOPATHS!!!!

    Do some research people of the LAW!!!

  22. Mary says:

    R.I.P. Poor Michael. We failed you and you deserved so much better. I hope you did not die in vain.
    Why/how are there humans that can be so cruel and evil? I hope this POS gets his true punishment with karma but better yet turn him into an animal lover/advocate…Probably not gonna happen but that would be Devine justice. He has not gotten what he deserves with the law…though it is a start. Thank you ALDF!

  23. deanna Franz says:

    I agree with all of the above comments.

  24. EVA MCINNIS says:

    WHY CANT THERE BE STRICHER LAW ON THIS MESS.BULLYING ANIMALS AND THEY CANT DEFEND THEM SELVES.if they do it to inncent animals they , will do it to anyone! thank you GOD BLESS.

  25. Max says:

    This man should serve a longer sentence, be on the animal abuse registry, and tracked to never own another pet in his lifetime. They should make him report to a probation officer and pay a lifetime fee to an animal rescue or service.

  26. Eleanor grise says:

    He should have been given more jail time than just one year that’s a slap on the wrist while the poor cat suffer so bad what’s wrong with that man being cruel

  27. Kaylee says:

    What I don’t understand is the whole not owning an animal for FIVE years. After torturing a poor, innocent, and helpless animal, they should NEVER own another animal again…EVER. It is cruel with that this d-bag did to this cat and the cat had to be put to sleep for it. Honestly, this is outrageous and horrendous! What was done to the cat, should be done to him. To ALL animal abusers everywhere!!

  28. Mittmah says:

    This is a very encouraging story. I hope to read about more instances where someone who abuses an animal actually gets a punishment.

  29. Ron & Marian Glass says:

    He should NEVER be permitted to own Any living thing! He can Never be trusted again!!! Glad they put him out of his misery!

  30. Ron & Marian Glass says:

    He should never be allowed to own any live creature. Obviously, he enjoys harming them no matter what he says in court. People like this make me sick. I hope that others read this and wise up. Normal people are not going to stand for this barbaric behavior. Hope they take care of him in prison!

  31. Bonnie says:


  32. Dorie says:

    It’s about time this happened to an abuser!! I would add never be allowed to have another animal any where around that he could be in reach of! If this poor cat doesn’t make it, then a longer sentence should be imposed!

  33. Dorie says:

    I also have to add that whether an award or not that anyone witnessing a cruel act would come forward to put theat person away for a very long time!

  34. sandra ciavatta says:

    excuse me you need the picture of this man, he is a killer, and you must to see him.
    One year it is not enough.

  35. marlene says:

    This man is sick and needs more than jail as anyone who would do that is a SOCIOPATH!!!!
    The laws Must be more Stronger in order to
    make a diffrence . Longer Jail Sentences to begin with as well as tests to determine
    if this person should be put in a metal ward . The idea of this person ever owning or being around any animal again is unacceptable. our laws are just too weak

  36. Our laws are too weak in protecting childen and animals. His sentence should have been 5 years in jail withour parole and then turned over to a hospital to determine if he is sane enough to ever be allowed freedom.

  37. If Denzell Oglesby is going to hurt a defenseless animal, children & the elderly are next. He should spend more time than a year for his abuse charge, because he is not going to come out a better person, but a more angry person and I pity anyone in his path. I also so hear that a Felony was going to be added to the sentence, for animal abuse. I would like to know if it applied to this case?

  38. Bikky Kanenine says:

    As there are equally horrific acts going on at this very moment in thousands of slaughterhouses and factory farms around the world (there is plenty of footage available to prove the heartless sadism involved) I can only assume that all of you baying for the perpetrator’s blood are all vegan? Because you are exhibiting moral schizophrenia if you think it’s not ok to kill a cat but it’s perfectly ok to tear a baby away from it’s mother, confine it to a cage where it can’t turn around then cart it off in hunger and terror to be slaughtered in pain all for the sake of your Sunday roast. And you call the cat burner a sociopath and every other name under the sun? Hypocrites.

  39. Maria S. Cantwell says:

    Thank you, ALDF. This evil person should get the death penalty.

  40. Jo. Unrau says:

    The low life piece of garbage should suffer the same fate as the poor cat did. One yr. in jail is nowhere near enough.

  41. Clarissa says:

    While I wholeheartedly agree with the outrage presented in these comments, I challenge anyone who is a meat-eater to look at the senseless killing of cows, pigs, chickens, lamb, and other animals for human consumption in the same way they look at this case. Other animals are not exempt from the love we show our companion animals and like commenters have said, murder is murder!

  42. Nancy komiega says:

    Do the same to him, POS scumbag

  43. Janet Kalil says:

    I think he deserves same treatment as he gave that poor defenseless cat.
    People like that do not deserve to be in this world.
    Death penalty sounds good for him!

  44. Janet says:

    And to agree with Clarissa, I do not support factory farming where animals are subjected to the same kinds of senseless cruelty.

  45. the other ghost girl says:

    I really wish that they had gotten this guy evaluated because he should really be spending at least part of his sentence in a mental health facility.

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