Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Pueblo man arrested on suspicion of torturing, strangling a kitten

by Jesse Paul jesse.paul@gazette.com - Updated: January 31, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Authorities arrested a Pueblo man this week after he allegedly videotaped himself torturing and killing a kitten before texting his feelings of elation over his actions.

Robert Heckmann, 25, was arrested on suspicion of cruelty to animals after Pueblo Animal Services Animal Law Enforcement officers received a tip that he allegedly killed Loki, a 12-week-old orange tiger kitten. Law enforcement officials got a warrant to search Heckmann's home, where they say they found the cat's body in a garbage bag.

Another kitten, a 12-week-old brown tiger, was removed from the home and taken to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, the organization said in a news release.

According to Pueblo Animal Services, a division of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, the video shows Heckmann allegedly trying to drown and then eventually strangling Loki. Text messages allegedly found on Heckmann's phone the night the incident took place describe the kitten as struggling before he was killed.

The news release includes some of what was allegedly texted: "You just feel euphoric and just don't care what else is going on. A huge natural high. That's why killing is addictive. I haven't had that high in so long, and I'm pissed it's already over."

Joe Stafford, director of animal law enforcement at the Humane Society and Pueblo Animal Law Enforcement, said the incident is "one of the worst, most distressing cases of cruelty" he has ever seen.

"There is a strong correlation between animal cruelty and other forms of violence," Stafford said in the statement. "This type of violence worries me. We've seen many cases in which those convicted of animal cruelty go on to commit other acts of violence, such as domestic violence, child abuse, or elder abuse."

Heckmann was released on bond and is awaiting arraignment, the Humane Society said.

The other cat, Stewie, will be available for adoption, but he suffers from a congenital esophagus malformation that will require extensive surgery first.

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Contact Jesse Paul at 476-4809. Twitter @JesseAPaul

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