Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Rashad Gober, seen at his original arraignment Thursday in Cambridge District Court.

A Cambridge man charged with animal cruelty in connection with East Cambridge cat torture cases will be held without bail until a pretrial hearing next month, Cambridge District Court judge Robert Harnais said Wednesday. Confirmation came via the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.

Rashad Gober, 31, was scheduled to appear in court for the second time at 9 a.m. Wednesday, but by the end of the day a clerk of the court handling criminal cases said there was still no paperwork back on his case. It was reported elsewhere that Gober would continue to be held until an appearance at 11 a.m. Aug. 3.

If convicted, Gober could face up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000 on each of the four animal cruelty charges; the crime is a felony in Massachusetts.

Calls about a cat crying from beneath a car came to Cambridge’s Animal Commission too late May 6 to save the young tom; when an animal control officer arrived, the cat was dead – its hind legs bound with masking tape, and shot several times by a BB gun, police said. The cat, Gosha, had been missing for two days from the home of Erika Kirichenko, according to media reports.

Postmortem testing on Gosha confirmed that the cat had suffered chemical or thermal burns in addition to BB wounds, according to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at Angell Animal Medical Center in Jamaica Plain. What happened to Gosha also had “striking similarities” to two past cases of cat torture in the neighborhood, MSPCA-Angell said. There was an incident March 4 with “another pet cat from the same East Cambridge neighborhood, as well as a third cat named Buddy who went missing in early May and returned on May 5 suffering from some kind of burn.” Both Gosha and Tammy, the cat who survived, had BB wounds and were missing their collars when found.

Gober had claimed he found Buddy in his backyard and brought the cat into his apartment to help before notifying the owner through a neighborhood social networking app and returning the pet to her, police said. But tips from the community also pointed to Gober as a suspect, and Cambridge police and the MSPCA recovered evidence in the investigation from his apartment, vehicle and phone, police said. The evidence included searches on Gober’s iPhone that asked how to catch and torture cats as well as what it meant that someone would do such a thing, according to police.