Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:54:16 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- It's one of the most horrific cases of animal torture in Bullitt County history. Alex Phelps was sentenced to five years in prison today and many in the courtroom cried as he admitted to cutting off cats' eyes and tails and dissecting their insides.
Jason Knopp, former cat owner said today, "Those cats were companions to me when I was going through a really hard time in my life. I was in end-stage renal failure."
Knopp's cat named Copper was one of many that 26-year-old Phelps found online around two years ago on Craigslist. When Knopp gave his cats to Alex Phelps, he thought they were in good hands: "I know that my cats were tortured and mutilated, that they died slow and painful deaths."
Phelps was convicted of eight counts of torturing animals last December. Their mangled remains were found in Jefferson and Bullitt counties. Prosecutors say they believe the torture happened to many more, perhaps as many as 26.
Phelps tried to get out of his five-year prison sentence today in court, saying he was "ashamed" of his behavior, calling it, "Monstrous."
His defense team pushed for counseling and probation as Phelps said, "I am sorry to the victims for the pain that I have caused them, for what I have put them through and for how long they went through it, and I am sorry to my family for what I put them through."
But the judge didn't believe a lesser punishment fit the severity of the crime, a stand Pamela Rogers of the Humane Society approved: "I think that it shows people that might have an indication that they might want to do something to an animal, that they will get punished. And that is one reason why we try to pass laws, we try to make sure they are enforced that the perpetrators for these kinds of crimes are going to pay."
As for Knopp, who gave his cats away because his family's allergies: "I am very pleased, I think justice has been done today."
Phelps has served more than 450 days in jail, meaning he is already eligible for parole.