It is a horrific and unusual case of alleged animal abuse. An Oildale man is behind bars, accused of killing cats and eating them.
Veteran prosecutors say they have never seen anything like this. It was the case of alleged animal abuse that led investigators to a home on Wilson Avenue in Oildale.
"It was shocking. I was just blown away. I mean how often do you hear that," said Steve Poe.
Poe lives next door to 36-year-old Jason Wilmert, who is accused of killing cats and eating them.
"I heard he was using his house pets as snacks which is kind of disturbing. You would have never guessed anything like that. I saw him buy a case of beer. So if he can afford a case of Natural Ice, you can get some Top Ramen," continued Poe.
Neighbors say Wilmert kept to himself and acted strangely.
"He would just stare at my dog, like just stare at it, and he makes me nervous, you know what I mean? I told him to stop and he said I'm not doing nothing. I'm just looking," said Steven Smith.
One neighbor said she saw him in action. "My roommate recently told me about two days ago that our neighbor was crazy and she caught him cutting up a dead cat in his backyard," said Crystal Gates.
Neighbors had their suspicions about how Wilmert may have prepared the cats. "He spent, I want to say, three straight days burning stuff in his backyard. It smelled like leaves and everything like that. I don't know if the guy was having a BBQ or what not, but it was three to four days solid burning stuff in his yard," said Poe.
Wilmert faces two misdemeanor charges, one count of cruelty to animals and one count of using a pet as food.
"I've been involved in these types of cases for well over almost 20 years now. I've never seen this charge before," explained Michael Yraceburn, Supervising Deputy District Attorney.
If convicted, Wilmert faces up to six months in jail. Investigators say they don't know where the cats came from, but they believe the killings happened on more than one occasion. Wilmert denied our request for a jailhouse interview. He is expected to be in court Friday.