Peru landlord accused of stealing tenant’s 9 cats, dumping them at animal hospital

John Norris

PERU, Ind. – Police arrested a Peru landlord accused of stealing nine cats from a tenant’s apartment.

According to court documents, a man called police on the morning of May 19 when he came home to find his nine cats were gone. The man told police he and his landlord, 48-year-old John Norris, had a disagreement about the pets.

The man was renting a room from Norris on East Fifth Street. The cats were secured in animal crates, with two of the wire crates padlocked because the man feared Norris was going to do something with the cats.

The man went for a bike ride; when he came back, the cats were gone. Witnesses reported seeing a man in a white van—police later identified him as Norris—leaving the building with the cats while their owner was away.

Police initially had trouble contacting Norris, who wasn’t home when they came to ask him about the cats, according to court documents. Norris later called police asking why they wanted to talk to him.

When officers got in touch with Norris and asked him about the cats, Norris said he didn’t know what police were talking about. Police then said two witnesses saw him take the cats; Norris told police he “took care of them” but didn’t specify what that meant for the cats.

Norris told police his tenant shouldn’t bring the cats back home or “he wasn’t going to find them next time,” court documents said.

Norris then said the cats were fine and that he’d taken them to a facility. However, he didn’t say where he’d left them until police prodded him some more on the phone.

“I believe that [Norris] was actively trying to find a place to dump the animals while I was on the phone with him before officers could spot his vehicle,” the officer wrote in his incident report.

Norris then said the cats were outside the Peru Animal Hospital, where officers found all nine cats, alive and in good condition. They were reunited with their owner.

According to court documents, Norris faces misdemeanor theft and animal cruelty charges.

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