Jail Time, Psychiatric Care Urged in Cat-Torturing Case

PETA Calls for Vigorous Prosecution of Suspects Charged for Allegedly Scalding Cat to Death

For Immediate Release:
January 31, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Moss Point, Miss. – Today, PETA sent an urgent letter to Moss Point Municipal Prosecutor Ashlee Trehern calling on her to prosecute vigorously a case involving Moss Point residents Laderrick O’Neal Rostchild, Larry Rostchild Jr., and Karmen Coleman. The two men are accused of dousing a caged cat with two pots of scalding-hot water, while Coleman allegedly filmed the incident and then posted the video to social media. The cat reportedly died from thermal burns days later.

“If the reports are true, these suspects saw nothing wrong with caging a cat, pouring scalding-hot water on him, laughing at his misery, and boasting about the incident on social media,” says PETA Senior Director Stephanie Bell. “PETA is calling on authorities to make sure that any convictions in this case come with jail time, psychiatric care, and a ban on ever harboring animals again.”

In its letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points to the link between violence against animals and violence against human beings and asks that the suspects, if convicted, be sentenced to a period of incarceration, prohibited from owning or harboring animals, and ordered to undergo thorough psychological evaluations followed by mandatory counseling.

For more information, please visit PETA.org. To view PETA’s anti-violence public service announcement featuring Inglourious Basterds star and Hostel director Eli Roth, please click here.

PETA’s letter to Moss Point Municipal Prosecutor Ashlee Trehern follows.

January 31, 2017

The Honorable Ashlee Trehern

Moss Point Municipal Prosecutor’s Office

4320 McInnis Ave.

Moss Point, MS 39563

Dear Ms. Trehern:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an animal-protection organization with more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide, thousands of whom proudly reside in Mississippi. This letter concerns a case with your office involving Moss Point residents Laderrick O’neal Rostchild, Larry Rostchild Jr., and Karmen Coleman. According to news sources, the two men face cruelty-to-animals charges for allegedly dousing a caged cat with two pots of scalding-hot water, and the victim of the alleged attack reportedly succumbed to painful thermal burns days later. Coleman has apparently been charged for her alleged role in filming the incident and posting the footage to social media. We understand that the suspects are scheduled to appear in court on February 14.

As you likely know, mental-health professionals and top law-enforcement officials consider animal abuse to be a red flag. The American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders, and the FBI uses reports of such crimes in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals. The link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence is undeniable, and the safety of the community is better secured by vigorous prosecution of these cases. Please see the attached document for more information.

Respectfully, we request that if there is a conviction, sentencing include incarceration as well as psychiatric intervention at the suspects’ expense. Given the sadistic nature of this case and because there is a high rate of recidivism among animal abusers, we ask also that sentencing include a prohibition on owning and contact with animals (a common provision in such cases) for as long as possible.

Thank you for your time and consideration as well as for the difficult work that you do. We stand ready to secure experts to testify, as needed.


Kristin Rickman

Cruelty Casework Associate Manager

Cruelty Investigations Department

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind