Snowmass man allegedly beats, drowns family cat

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

Police arrested a mentally ill Snowmass Village man Saturday morning after he admitted to beating and drowning his family’s cat in his bathtub, according to court documents.

Nathaniel Work, 27, was charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals after police officers found the dead black-and-white cat in a bucket on the front porch of his family’s home in Snowmass Village, the warrant states.

Work’s father called police at 6:46 a.m. Saturday to report that his son killed the cat and was downstairs in the house “with a hammer,” according to the warrant. The father said he and Work’s mother were in an upstairs bedroom with the door locked, and that his son was dangerous, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and doesn’t take medication for it, the warrant states.

When officers arrived at the Snowmass Village home, one drew his weapon and the other drew his Taser before opening the front door and identifying themselves. They saw Work inside and ordered him to walk to the front door, which he did, the warrant states.

Once he was outside, the officers holstered their weapons and asked Work if he knew why they were there.

“Because I was throwing stuff around this morning,” he said, according to the warrant. “I asked Nathaniel if there was any other reason, and he said, ‘I drowned the cat.’”

Despite earlier reporting that he suffers from schizophrenia, the parents later told officers they don’t know what kind of mental illness he has. They said he was scheduled to undergo tests in Denver today to try and figure out what it is, the warrant states.

The father told officers he woke up that morning and realized the cat wasn’t around. He said when he went to his son’s room and asked about the cat, his son told him, “He’s in there drowning.” The father then found the cat floating in his son’s bathtub, the warrant states.

Work told his father he hit the cat several times with a broomstick to keep it from fighting.

After arresting Work and taking him to jail, the Snowmass Village police officer called an area mental-health counselor, who told him he would look into Work’s history and determine if they would need to send a counselor to the jail.


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