Social media video leads to arrests of individuals accused of cat torture

Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 22, 2023

KNOX COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Taking in strays left and right, Brooklin Hamilton has always had a heart for animals.

“I love animals, I just want to help animals in this world,” said Hamilton.

In July, many of the cats that often lined her porch waiting for food and affection began disappearing.

Last week, she got her answer.

“We’re sitting in the house scrolling Facebook, and my cousin is watching a video. She says, ‘This is Pumpkin,’ and I watched for a few seconds before throwing my phone down.”

According to Hamilton, the video was too disturbing to watch.

The video shows a cat caught in a trap. As one individual stabs the animals through the cage, another is filming and laughing. At the end of the video, one individual says, “Get the next one.”

According to Hamilton, the video was shared to Snapchat before someone in the community screen recorded the video and posted it to Facebook, criticizing the inhumane act.

“It just broke my heart that someone could torture a cat and hurt it when it was just the sweetest cat, and all it wanted was love,” said Hamilton.

After identifying the individuals in the video, police arrested 20-year-old Gabriel Messer along with a juvenile.

Gabriel Messer_edited.jpg

According to police, in an interview, the juvenile said that he wanted to “put the cat out of its misery.”

“My cat wasn’t in misery,” responded Hamilton, explaining that the cat appeared healthy and had ample food and water.

Now waiting for additional charges against the suspects, Hamilton fears retaliation.

“It's really scary, the fact that you never know what they could do next.”

Moving forward, she plans to continue caring for strays and hopes to bring awareness to the animal abuse cases she believes go unnoticed in eastern Kentucky.