Hamilton cat cruelty case against Oxford man will continue in court

Defense wants charge dismissed says cat was not a companion animal

A Butler County Common Pleas judge said no to a an Oxford man’s request for intervention in lieu of conviction for a felony animal cruelty case that resulted in the death of a cat at a Hamilton apartment complex.

Zhean Bai, 27, was arrested Feb. 6 at his residence at Oxford West Apartments on Ogden Court and charged with prohibitions concerning companion animals, and breaking and entering, both fifth-degree felonies.

In March, a Butler County grand jury indicted Bai on one count of cruelty to companion animal, a fifth-degree felony. The grand jury declined to return a indictment for breaking and entering.

Intervention in lieu of conviction means an eligible defendant pleads guilty but agrees to a treatment plan as ordered by the court. If the defendant successfully completes the intervention plan, the judge dismisses the case.

Defense attorney Brandon Moermond filed the motion last week, stating Bai “asserts he is a drug dependent person or is in danger of becoming drug dependent and such was a factor leading to criminal activity in this particular case.”

On Thursday, Judge Keith Spaeth denied that request. Bia’s trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 4. He is free on 50,000 bond.

Bai’s team of attorneys have filed a new motion to have the charge dismissed citing a pending case before the Ohio Supreme Court questioning the definition of a companion animal which raises the charge to a felony.

In the motion, the attorneys questioned if the cat was a companion animal or a “feral cat” because “the cat was not owned by anyone in the apartment building, not did it live in anyone’s home.”

Bai’s arrest came after a tip from a concerned citizen a day after a the sheriff’s office offered a $250 reward for information on the identity of a suspect in the Jan. 24 incident.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office took to social media to identify a man who appears to capture a cat then slam it to the ground at a Hamilton apartment complex, causing the animal grave injuries.

The incident happened at 9 p.m. Jan. 24 at Indian Springs apartments on Hampshire Drive. The cat was found by deputy dog wardens behind the complex and had to be euthanized due to its injuries.

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