A serial cat killer who abducted and tortured a number of household pets in San Jose was sentenced Friday to a maximum term of 16 years behind bars. Robert Roy Farmer, 26, is set to serve 13 years, with credit for time served.
The San Jose native pleaded guilty in October to 21 felony counts of animal cruelty. Prosecutors accused Farmer of sexually abusing one of the dead cats, but Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Sharon Chatman rejected that claim and did not require him to register as a sex offender.
Police say Farmer killed up to 16 cats, most of them from the Cambrian Park neighborhood, over several months in 2015. The killing spree forced pet owners to keep their outdoor cats inside after several disappeared.
According to the Mercury News, Farmer wrote in a letter that it felt like another person committed the crimes.
“It’s so hard to grasp I did this,” Farmer wrote, according to the report. “I stole a member of their family. The fact that I was out of my mind was no excuse.”
Animal rights activists and victims demanded a strict sentencing for Farmer. They created an online petition, which garnered tens of thousands of signatures, and wrote letters to the judge. They also created a Facebook group called “Justice for our CATZ.”
On Friday, the morning of the sentencing, Justice for CATZ co-founder Miriam Petrova applauded the outcome and the public’s support for the victims.
“You have shown that our pets are not things, but loving family members who have feelings and have a soul and deserve justice,” she wrote. “On their behalf, we want to thank you for being the voices for our voiceless animals.”