Two Vallonia men sentenced to jail after killing cats

BROWNSTOWN – Two Vallonia men have been sentenced on Tuesday to 360 days in the Jackson County Jail after they were found guilty of killing a domestic animal, a Level 6 felony.

The brothers were given credit for five days served. They must pay $292 in restitution.

Gavin Goens and Garth Goens, both 30, were arrested on January 13, 2022, after police responded to a call on January 9th after a neighbor reported she had recorded an altercation between the brother and another man.

Garth Goens
Gavin Goen

“We take reports of animal cruelty very seriously,” said Sheriff Rick Meyer. “The facts of this case are very disturbing. Nobody has the right to kill or harm a neighbor’s pets.”

During the interaction, the two yelled at the woman, “Hey, your cats are dead!”

When an officer visited the Goens’ residence, the two men initially said the cats they had killed were feral. They said the cats came onto their property and were caught in a trap. 

The police report noted there were numerous wire traps of varying sizes containing some sort of bait. During the conversation, the two men admitted that cats matching the description of the neighbors had been a nuisance and were caught in the traps.

The brothers are also alleged to have killed the animals by shooting them in the head with a 9mm handgun and then burying the deceased cats on their property.

The pair is alleged to have killed more than 20 cats.

The men would then taunt the owners of the cats an example of blatant disregard for the neighbors and showing a lack of remorse.

A jury found both men guilty by a jury on February 27, 2023, of Level 6 felony of killing a domestic animal.

Jackson Circuit Court Judge Richard Poynter stated during sentencing on Tuesday, the facts of this case and the actions of the Goenses were “cold and disturbing.

The two brothers interrupted the Judge during his statements and sentencing. Judge Poynter told them numerous times to stay quiet.

“You disposed of them as if they were trash, and that is why you are going to jail,” Judge Poynter added.