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Suspected San Jose Cat Killer Appears In Court

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A 24-year-old man was arraigned Tuesday in an animal cruelty case involving cats targeted in San Jose's Cambrian Park neighborhood.

Robert Farmer was arraigned Tuesday on three felony counts of animal cruelty, a felony count of attempted animal cruelty and a misdemeanor count of battery, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Ellis said.

Judge Daniel Nishigaya set Farmer's bail at $75,000, which is above the scheduled amount, Ellis said.

The 24-year-old was scheduled for a plea hearing set for later this month, she said.

Starting in mid-September, Farmer allegedly abducted cats that were in some cases either killed or injured, while others are still missing, she said.

"If there's any additional evidence of victims or crimes we won't hesitate to charge him," said Ellis, who offered sympathy to the people whose cats were victims in the case.

Farmer was arrested early in the morning Thursday when he was found sleeping in his car in the area of Hillsdale and Leigh avenues, police Officer Albert Morales said.

Police found a dead cat hidden inside the car, but have not identified the animal or its owner, Morales said.

Farmer was arrested after detectives reviewed video surveillance footage of a white male suspect who lured and kidnapped an orange tabby cat named Gogo, Morales said.

Police were able to identify the suspect as Farmer after tips from the public, according to Morales.

More than a dozen people held pictures of their cats, believed to be Farmer's victims, when supporters attended Tuesday's hearing. The grieving group gathered outside the Hall of Justice in San Jose following the hearing.

One of the pet owners, Myriam Martinez, said she was told Thursday that her cat was found dead near where Farmer lived.

"We're scared in our neighborhood to put our dogs or cats out," Martinez said.

Carole Hyde, executive director of the Palo Alto Humane Society, said she encourages the county District Attorney's Office to appropriately prosecute the case.

"We know the escalation of violence happens from animals to people and we don't want any more animals hurt either," Hyde said.

© Copyright 2015 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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