Following a seven-day jury trial, Wrenn Rittenhouse, 57, of Napa was convicted Thursday of felony charges related to an attack on his wife's 15-year-old cat "Boo," then an assault on his wife.
The jury found Rittenhouse guilty in Napa Superior Court of animal cruelty, attempted robbery, dissuading a witness, and misdemeanor spousal battery, District Attorney Allison Haley reported.
The convictions stem from an incident that occurred on July 24, 2018. Rittenhouse physically assaulted his wife’s 15 year-old cat “Boo” with enough force to severely break numerous bones in the cat’s body, puncture a lung, and cause internal bleeding, the DA's office said. A veterinary had to euthanize the pet.
When Rittenhouse’s wife threatened to leave him for hurting her beloved pet, he assaulted her and tried to rip the wedding ring off her finger. An adult family member observed the assault and called 911. Rittenhouse thwarted the call for help, tearing the phone from the family member’s hand and intentionally breaking the phone, according to the DA's news release.
The investigation was spearheaded by the Napa Police Department and Napa County District Attorney’s Office.
“People who hurt animals don’t stop with animals. There is a well-established link between animal abuse and violence against people," said Deputy District Attorney Nicole Noonan-Miller who prosecuted the case. "We see this in cases of domestic violence, mass violence and child abuse. Abuse of pets correlates to abuse of people and is often a tool of domestic violence, a method of control and a form of emotional abuse."
Sentencing before Judge Francisca P. Tisher is scheduled for Dec. 12 at 8:30 am in Department E.
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