A man and woman arrested in Southern California after sheriff's deputies found a cat with its paws taped together pleaded no contest Wednesday to animal cruelty and drug charges.
Tyler Scott Vest, 23, of Valencia, and Kylie Stringer, 26, of Canyon Country, were arrested after deputies found the cat with electrical tape over all four paws while checking a suspicious car behind a Canyon Country shopping center.
Vest pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of cruelty to an animal and a felony count of possession for sale of a controlled substance. He faces one year in county jail and three years' probation, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Stringer is facing three years of probation for her plea to one misdemeanor count each of cruelty to an animal and possession of a controlled substance, according to Santiago.
The two will likely be ordered to undergo animal cruelty counseling, Santiago said.
Deputies found the car late Saturday night behind a shopping center at Soledad Canyon and Sand Canyon roads, according to Sgt. Daniel Stanley of the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station. He said the occupants were found with heroin.
Sheriff's Deputy Adam Halloran told reporters he heard the sound of a cat in distress.
"I asked one of the suspects, 'Is there a cat in the car?' and she said yes," Halloran said.
He said he found the cat upside-down in a carrier. Her paws had each been individually bound with electrical tape, then both front feet and both hind legs were taped together, the deputy said.
Animal Control officers took possession of the cat, named Lily, after deputies freed her.
"She probably will end up being fostered and then adopted by the foster," said Derek Brown, deputy director of Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control.
Brown said there has been "keen interest" from "a lot of interested parties" involving the kitten, who is about nine months old and currently being housed at the Castaic facility.
"She's got a nice little personality," he said, noting that she has a "distinctive sounding meow."
Vest and Stringer are due back in a San Fernando courtroom for sentencing Jan. 27.