(Also see May 2008)
Pity the Kitty
An animal cruelty case from Corona is just the latest in a serial cat killer’s spree
By: James Abraham
The case against Timothy Arie Kooyman has given animal rights activists and pet owners a reason to hate his guts. Or, as one website puts it, the 26-year-old former Corona resident has become one of the “People You’ll See in Hell.”
And not without reason has Kooyman become the poster child for animal abuse in Southern California. Animal abuse? Heck-it’s murder as far as Voices For Pets is concerned. And that, PETA sloganeers, makes Kooyman Public Enemy No. 1.
The accused has been ordered to stand trial for allegedly luring neighborhood cats with food, catching them and taking them back to his then-residence, a National Inn motel in Corona, and torturing them for days before killing the felines.
“It was like he was conducting some kind of experiment [on the cats] and seeing what he could do and it just kept happening” Robyn Hunt, the Southern California representative for the Walnut Creek-based Voices For Pets, tells the Weekly.
Voices For Pets is a California nonprofit that monitors animal cruelty cases in the courts. In the Corona case, Kooyman purportedly confessed to breaking all four legs of a calico cat, letting it live for five days before killing it by running over the cat in the motel parking lot with a truck. Kooyman also allegedly admitted to injuring another cat with an ax and then decapitating it. He also allegedly attempted to drown a Siamese. The cats’ remains were later found in a Walgreen’s store dumpster close to the hotel.
And while Kooyman is facing three felony counts of animal cruelty, two enhancement charges for using a deadly weapon and one misdemeanor count of inhuman transport of an animal, these alleged crimes are not the first time the defendant has been accused of snuffing out the lives of neighborhood kitties. Kooyman has served time in state prison due to a previous case in which he was charged with soaking live cats in gasoline and then setting them on fire-a move that ended up sparking a brushfire. Kooyman was living in the Rancho Cucamonga area at the time. And these are just recent examples of his past crimes.
“It seems that with each cat he’s doing something different that he hasn’t done before,” Hunt says. “. . . Things just seem to escalate and get more and more gruesome.”
As far as Voices For Pets is concerned, Kooyman’s a serial cat killer.
“Generally, we haven’t seen this kind of serial nature thing before,” Hunt adds. “It’s usually been one dog or one cat, that kind of thing.”
A preliminary hearing for Kooyman regarding the Corona case was held last month, when a judge ordered him to stand trial, John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County DA’s Office, tells the Weekly. A trial readiness conference is scheduled for July 6 in Riverside, he says.
Kooyman has pleaded not guilty to the Corona charges.
Voices For Pets is only one group who has taken up the case in hopes of making people aware of the horrific crimes. Volunteers attend court hearings, run letter-writing campaigns and urge prosecutors to push for the stiffest penalties.
“We’re trying to put on the maximum amount of pressure,” Hunt says. “No plea bargaining if possible.”
Check out the forums on animalshelter.org or pet-abuse.com and you’ll see that Kooyman and his alleged crimes are spared no venom, invective or vitriol: “He needs to be kept in jail FOREVER!” says “Monica.” “He is a dangerous unstable person,” writes “Amy” while “Kathy” says “There should be some kind of Megan’s Law website for animal abusers, too, so people can protect their pets when this guy is released from jail.”
The “People You’ll See in Hell” website minces no words: “. . . the bottom line about Timothy Kooyman is he is an evil son of a bitch who enjoys torturing poor defenseless animals, and HE WILL OFFEND AGAIN.”