Voices for Sara
Cat beaten and torched in Napa, California

Dateline: March 2, 2001

Napa, California is a nice town to live in, nestled near vineyards and farmland, replete with history, but welcoming to the newcomer. It is no surprise that residents were shocked in January of this year, to hear of the beating and torching of a cat on the residential streets of Napa.

Pizza Delivery Man Accused
According to the Napa Police Departement, Martin Berg, 40, was making pizza deliveries to a residence when he tried to pet a cat in the street. The cat tried to scratch him, and he struck it with a flashlight and threw it in the back of his truck. At his next delivery stop, according to the police report, he removed the cat from the truck, poured charcoal lighter fluid on it and set it afire.

    "According to the report, Berg told investigators he wanted to get even with the cat and wanted the cat to suffer the way he would have suffered if the cat had scratched him. The night Berg was arrested, police officers searched the pizza delivery truck and found an animal trap, a can of charcoal lighter fluid, a bloodied flashlight and animal fur on the floorboard, the report said."    Napa News Online

Community Members Advocate Justice

The case has roused the ire of both Napa residents and the larger cat-loving community. Members of Voices for Pets named the cat "Sara," because they felt she deserved a name and her owner has never come forth. Members of that group as well as PeTA have urged the District Attorney's office to prosecute to the full extent of the law.

Arraignment to be Held on March 13, 2001

Berg, who no longer works for the pizza restaurant, is scheduled for arraignment in Superior Court on March 13th. He has pled not guilty to the charges: two counts of felony cruelty to animals and arson. California is one of the vanguard states that have made cruelty to animals a felony. It is hoped that this case will be prosecuted to the fullest, with no plea bargaining.

Action Suggested:

    * Polite letters to the address below, requesting NO plea bargaining in this case. The D.A.'s Office has already charged the defendant with the appropriate felony charges, and since D.A. Gary Lieberstein himself is handling the prosecution, it is anticipated he will prosecute to the fullest extent. It is important, however, that no plea bargaining be considered in this serious matter.

          The Honorable Gary Lieberstein
          931 Parkway Mall
          Napa, CA 94559