APPROXIMATELY FORTY CATS

Case #5261-ACD

Documentation of Interview #12 with subject Anthony Verdinio.

Questions stricken to conceal identity of interrogating official(s).

Transcript below begins at 00:03:22.

 

[Q.]

I’ll explain to you the same thing I explained to them. [Omitted] asked to have one cat. She was reliable. She’d shown up to our Housing Assistant Meetings every other week like she was supposed to. We said one cat was okay. She needed a friend. She’d come right out of county. From a 364. Or it was a homeless shelter. Whatever. Same prison, different bars, you know? Anyway, when I did my rounds to check on the state of the house, I met that one cat.

[Q.]

Goliath, I think. Gollum. I don’t see how the cat’s name matters.

[Q.]

I did rounds every other week. [Omitted] had a second cat when I met with her next time. I said, “[Omitted], we agreed on one cat.” [Omitted] said, “The one cat gets lonely when I’m not around.” I go a little crazy when I’m alone for too long. I can relate. “Okay,” I said. “But no more cats.” [Omitted] said she fine with that. Then I left.

[Q.]

That’s her name. [Omitted]. It’s what I called her and she responded to, at least. Her name’s kinda like a cat’s name. That may’ve been why she liked them. There’s the homeless thing, too. [Omitted] was homeless; cats are homeless. Cats roam neighborhoods, get run over by cars. Have lives that don’t count until they’re put in homes and taken care of. Then people want to pet ‘em and give ‘em a rabies shot. But that theory wouldn’t add up the same way if [Omitted] was coming from jail. Depends who you ask whether prisoners are mooching off the system like cats do. Rent and meals are paid for in the clink. I personally—

[Q.]

Okay. She has two cats two weeks after we let her have cat #1. We told her to cease and desist immediately, but she can keep cat #2. [Omitted] was very receptive to feedback. She followed up with the residents she was in charge of. She showed them how to work the garbage disposal after they clogged the kitchen sink with banana peels. We decided we didn’t have to check on [Omitted] as often anymore. We—

[Q.]

We as in ‘I’. As in the royal version of ‘we’.

[Q.]

Okay. Then ‘I’, as in ‘me’, decided I wouldn’t have to check on this responsible, goal-oriented Housing Assistant to see if she obeyed a rule no more rigorous or demanding than any of the other rules she was already following. In fact, that she was excelling at following.

[Q.]

The rule about no more cats.

[Q.]

I didn’t have any reason to go in her room in those ten months. To do what? To see if her bed was made?

[Q.]

Right. Yeah. Technically it was a year and a half. I saw her and we talked about the residents and how the house was holding up. I verified her reports. She kept showing up to our Housing Assistant Meetings.

[Q.]

My supervisor received the complaint from the other residents. I went with her to check on [Omitted]. That’s when I saw it. [Expletive].

[Q.]

I promise you, you can’t imagine. Writhing mutant cats, like all of them having semi-seizures. Mewling from deformed skulls. Their tails were nubs, they had giant caveman foreheads. Some of their spines were frozen in arches and others were stuck bent left or right. Looked like yield signs. Like they’d been eating radioactive Fancy Feast. But inbreeding will do that. I could hear them hiss and screech and moan before we even opened the door, and I could smell them before I heard them. Their [expletive] covered everything, from [Omitted]’s bed to the top of her dresser. The cat litters were solid blocks, like paving stones.

[Q.]

As far as we know she slept in there the entire ten months—

[Q.]

The entire year and a half while the cats multiplied. Unbelievable. When their hormones want to [expletive], cats are gonna [expletive]. They won’t hesitate because that’s their cousin or their own Dad. They’re thinking [expletive] and they’re thinking hole. They’re—

[Q.]

There were approximately forty cats. Someone counted 39 and someone else counted 41.

[Q.]

I couldn’t count them. They were everywhere. Humping. Hissing. I threw up on one. I couldn’t handle the smell. Then I saw [Omitted].

[Q.]

Yeah, [Omitted] was there.

[Q.]

On her bed. We didn’t notice her at first. She was lying there petting one of the ugliest cats in the room. It had two and a half legs, one eye, bald spots all over. [Omitted] was whispering to it. We could barely hear her over the rest of the noise before she noticed we were there and tried explaining herself.

[Q.]

She was whispering to that monstrosity, to that [expletive] demonic, disfigured, almost made me puke a second—

[Q.]

She was lying on her bed, petting it and whispering, “I’ll love you anyway. I promise I’ll love you anyway.” She said that over and over. “I’ll love you anyway. I promise I’ll love you anyway.” [Expletive].

[Q.]

I don’t know. Can you answer one of my questions? I heard Middlesex County was responsible for putting down all those cats. I heard it was nearly fifteen grand’s worth of euthanasia.

[Q.]

One-five. Not five-zero. Can you confirm that?

[Q.]

Answer me first. Please. Officer.

[Q.]

The biggest shame was [Omitted] was pretty. She had another shot at life and she was pretty. I would have asked her out if this didn’t go in the direction it did. No cats and I would’ve—

[Q.]

They were her cats. Not mine.

[Q.]

Is it my job to investigate employees I trust? Employees who are otherwise meeting all the criteria of their responsibilities? No, officer, it’s not.

[Q.]

That’s private information. May I leave now?

[Q.]

I thought you said my lawyer was on the way here?

[Q.]

Yeah, he should be here.

[Q.]

[No response.]

[Q.]

[No response.]

[Q.]

[No response.]

[Q.]

I’ll wait.

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