Animal rights supporters gather outside courtroom during hearing for men charged in cat’s death

Posted at 3:56 PM, May 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-30 05:55:32-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - More than a dozen people, holding a picture of a cat, stood silent outside a courtroom at the Virginia Beach General District Court on Friday.

They were fighting against animal cruelty during the court hearing for two men accused of killing the cat.

Sarah Allen says 26-year-old Justin Page came in to the Norfolk SPCA in January to adopt Pirate the cat and answered everything perfectly.

“I’m just really upset that it happened. We try to do our best to find great homes for everybody and unfortunately this one did not work out. They seemed to love him as much as we did,” she says.

Page and his roommate, 23-year-old Cody Craig Gerarden, were both charged with Felony Animal Cruelty back in April after an investigation. That charge has been changed to Torture Animal Causing Death.

Both men are U.S. Navy sailors.

Pirate the cat was found dead near the 1000 block of Prosperity Road in Virginia Beach, across the street from where the two men lived.

A citizen had notified Animal Control about the cat’s death and indicated that it might have died unnaturally. Animal Control confirmed to NewsChannel 3 the cat was strangled to death.

Case and Gerarden’s preliminary hearing on Friday was delayed until June 26th.

Allen says she and the others will be there.

“We wanted to see it happen a little faster but we’re going to just have to wait a little longer to have a say in court,” she says. “Every animal matters no matter how big or small.”