Boyne City Man Arrested For Abusing Kitten, Witness Intimidation

A Charlevoix County man has been charged with animal abuse after a woman found a kitten covered in orange spray paint and with a broken tail.

The Boyne City man is accused of abusing the kitten and also threatening the person who told police.

Paul Wicker was arrested in Boyne City and charged with animal abuse and felony witness intimidation.

A woman found the kitten, who is now named Murphy, last week.

His tail had an infection and had to be amputated and chunks of his fur had to be shaved to remove the toxic paint.

9 & 10s Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Erin Malone have our continuing coverage on the case and what’s in store for Murphy’s future.

"We’ve got him locked in on this complaint and we can put the public at ease that we don’t have someone running around here injuring other animals," Charlevoix County Sheriff Don Schneider said.

The Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Department say the have found the man who they say is responsible for abusing a stray kitten.

They arrested Paul Wicker for spray painting him and then threatening the person who turned him in.

"We have an animal cruelty charge, which is a 93 day misdemeanor, which also carries a $1,000 fine and community service," Sheriff Schneider said. "The one witness that came forward to give a statement was also a coworker of his and he made threatening comments to her about the situation."

Neighbors say they’re surprised this happened in the area.

"We warn people on having pets in the area because of animals, but I guess we now have a different animal, who would hurt a cat and I guess it’s a kitty. That’s crazy."

The kitten, who the humane society named Murphy, is on the road to recovery, almost in the arms of his new owners.

"Murphy is probably one of the most affectionate kittens I’ve ever seen and as young as he is and the challenges he’s gone through," Charlevoix Area Humane Society Executive Director Scott MacKenzie said. "He loves belly rubs. He loves to snuggle. He loves to be held."

Murphy is recovering really well. He should only be a few weeks out until he’s ready to go to his forever home.

"Murphy’s case helps make a point of the importance of spay and neutering, the importance of animal cruelty in our community and how to address it."

Wicker will be back in court in November.