Friday 30 September 2016

Arrest warrant issued for Irishman accused of torturing flatmate's cat in New York after he returns home

Confusion as sacked banker leaves US on expiration of visa

Cate McCurry

Published 22/04/2016 | 09:25

Declan Garrity being led away from his New York apartment
Declan Garrity being led away from his New York apartment
Declan Garrity
Lucy the Cat

A US court has issued an arrest warrant for a Northern Ireland man who allegedly tortured his flatmate's cat after he returned home when his visa expired.

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Declan Garrity (24), from Omagh, stands accused of ripping out the claws of Lucy, breaking bones in her face, pelvis and legs and burning her after moving into the apartment in November.

Lucy the Cat
Lucy the Cat

The financial analyst was working for Barclays when he was arrested by police last month. He was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and torturing and injuring animals and released on a $5,000 (£3,500) bond.

A criminal complaint filed by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office stated: "Shortly after (Garrity) moved into the apartment the individual observed Lucy's behaviour change, including hiding in the individual's bedroom closet, not eating and constantly licking her paws."

It added that Garrity told his flatmate on January 25 that an iron had fallen on the cat while he was at work.

Garrity was fired from Barclays on March 4 and told he had a month to leave the US.

Declan Garrity
Declan Garrity

"It is your obligation to comply with the immigration regulations by either departing the US or applying to US Citizenship and Immigration Services for a change in status to another non-immigrant visa category as soon as possible," a letter purportedly sent by the bank and obtained by a US website said.

The same site claimed that Barclays paid or would pay for Garrity's flight home as part of a "settlement term" of the termination of his employment, with the Tyrone man getting the payment in a lump sum.

"We understand that your last place of foreign residence is Northern Ireland, UK," the letter stated.

"We have determined that the cost of a one-way, economy fare ticket to Belfast, Ireland, is $662.90."

Garrity was due before Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday to be arraigned on the animal cruelty charges.

Justice James Burke issued a bench warrant for him after speaking with lawyers involved in the case.

Assistant District Attorney Erin Satterthwaite said she spoke to officials at the US Department of Homeland Security.

"When there is a criminal case pending, there are different procedures," she added.

She said that because of the additional circumstances "he would not necessarily be reacquired to leave". "This is absolutely a wilful and voluntary absence," she added.

Garrity's defence lawyer Telesforo Del Valle jnr said his client saw an immigration lawyer for advice before leaving the country. The lawyer informed him he would be in the US illegally if he did not leave.

A GoFundMe page was set up to raise money for Lucy's veterinary treatment.

An update shared on the page two days ago revealed the cat was doing well and was no longer taking medication.

"Her feeding tube has been removed and Lucy continues to do just fine eating on her own," the post read. "She's been extra playful and is even running."

Belfast Telegraph

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