Case Snapshot
Case ID: 15734
Classification: Mutilation/Torture
Animal: cat
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Defense(s): Elliot Kay
Judge(s): Michael Obus

For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.

Saturday, Oct 4, 2008

County: New York

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Sean Lynde

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

Investigators think they have a serial kitty killer in the bag.

Sean Lynde poisoned one of his girlfriend's cats with laundry detergent, broke the neck of another, beat a third one so badly it had to be euthanized and claimed a fourth "fell off a countertop" and died, prosecutors said.

The Manhattan man has also been charged with crippling another kitten and causing a sixth to disappear.

"I've never seen this series of incidents carried out against animals in my experience," said Assistant Director Joseph Pentangelo of the ASPCA, which nabbed Lynde.

Lynde's lawyer insisted the 36-year-old graphic designer and former roadie for the alternative rock band Guster was no cat slayer. "He has never harmed a pet in his life," said attorney Elliot Kay.

This was not Lynde's first brush with the law. He was busted in March after he allegedly punched and broke ex-girlfriend Rachael Strate's Apple Macbook, causing $800 worth of damage, police records show.

Strate was the owner of the adopted cats Lynde is charged with murdering.

Lynde posted $5,000 cash bail and took off after he was arraigned on multiple animal cruelty charges that could send him to jail for up to four years. He was also charged with harassing and stalking Strate, which are misdemeanors that carry far less jail time.

On his Web site, Lynde does not come off as a crazed cat killer, but he makes his preference for dogs clear.

He lists, among his favorite things, "spending time on The Lake in Maine with my wonderful family and two of the most lovable dogs you could ever meet."

Six months before Lynde was arrested, a warning was posted on craigslist that read, "KEEP CATS AWAY FROM THIS MAN." It was not immediately clear who put up the notice.

Lynde was named on the site, which also posted a photograph of him wearing a paper crown from Burger King. "He is currently under investigation for six counts of aggravated animal cruelty," the site said.

Lynde's kitty murder spree began in October 2008 when a cat named Cleo was found dead behind a dryer with her mouth full of detergent, while Zoe was found badly beaten and later had to be euthanized, according to the ASPCA.

Strate went out and adopted two more kittens named Willie and Betty. The next month, she came home to discover Willie was having trouble walking. A couple of nights later, she found Betty dead.

"Mr. Lynde states that she fell from a countertop to the floor and stopped breathing," said Pentangelo.

Still not suspecting Lynde, Strate adopted two more kittens named Emo and Bonafide.

Bonafide was found dead with a broken neck. And when Emo vanished, Lynde told Strate the kitty ran away, investigators said.

The ASPCA began investigating after a tipster reported that bad things were happening to the cats of Lynde's girlfriend.

Lynde no longer lives with Strate. "They broke up in January and haven't lived together since," Kay said.

Case Updates

Lock up your cats - an alleged serial cat killer is on the prowl after getting a no-jail plea deal.

Sean Lynde, 37, had been charged with murdering five of his girlfriend's cats between October 2008 and January 2009.

Under the terms of a plea deal with the Manhattan District Attorney's office, Lynde, who now lives in Maine, will undergo weekly psychotherapy sessions for a year and must stay from his now ex-girlfriend and her surviving pet, a dog named Sasha.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus signed off on the plea, in which Lynde admitted to killing one of the cats and to violating a court order by harassing his girlfriend online, but said he wasn't happy with the agreement.

"I'm concerned about it, because of the conduct not only towards animals, but towards his ex," Rachael Strate, who was the cats' owner, Obus said.

He added that he was only signing off on the agreement because prosecutors said Strate was "fully on board" with the deal, which spares her from having to testify about her heartbreak in court.

"If not for her desires, this would be hard to accept," Obus said, adding that he and prosecutors would be keeping a close eye on Lynde, and that if he violated the terms of the agreement or gets into any trouble with the law, he could end up in prison for up two years.

"It's very much in your interest to make sure this works out," Obus told the cat killer.

Lynde and his lawyer, Elliot Kay, declined comment afterwards.

Prosecutors said he set off on his sickening spree in October of 2008, after he moved in to Strate's West Side apartment. Three days after he moved in, Lynde's cat Cleo, 15, died from head trauma, including a broken jaw and bleeding eye.

Three weeks later, Lynde brought Zoe, 12, to the vet when she who was unable to stand because of an unknown trauma. She had to be euthanized.

In late November, Strate returned a badly injured cat name Willie to its original owner. Two days later, Lynde brought 3-month-old Betty to a different Upper West Side vet dead, saying she had fallen off a kitchen counter.

Emo, a 2-month-old male, suffered a mysterious broken paw in on Dec. 21 and subsequently vanished. Bonafide, also a 2-month-old male, somehow broke two vertebrae in his neck, slipped into a coma and died.

Lynde pleaded guilty to killing Bonafide, and to a charge of criminal contempt for violating a court order to stay away from Strate. He'd posted a picture of her on Craigslist along with an ad soliciting sex.
Source: - Feb 10, 2010
Update posted on Nov 6, 2010 - 3:12PM 
A Maine man charged with being a serial cat slayer pleaded guilty Monday to fatally snapping the neck of an adorable black-and-white kitten named Bonafide.

Sean Lynde was granted a conditional discharge after pleading guilty to aggravated animal cruelty and criminal contempt. He was also ordered to undergo therapy as part of a deal that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus grumbled was "not the most satisfying."

Lynde, who was arrested in August, had been facing animal cruelty charges that could have sent him to jail for up to four years.

The 37-year-old graphic designer and former roadie for the alternative rock band Guster admitted only to exterminating Bonafide, though he was also suspected in the deaths of five other cats - Willie, Betty, Zoe, Cleo and Emo - who belonged to Lynde's ex-girlfriend, Rachel Strate.

As part of the deal, Lynde was also ordered to stay away from Strate - and her dog.
Source: - Feb 9, 2010
Update posted on Nov 6, 2010 - 11:16AM 


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