Pa. Man Charged With Felony For Running Over Cat With His Truck

A former councilman in rural Pennsylvia faces two animal abuse charges after trying to run down a group of cats — and hitting at least one — with his truck earlier this month.

Frank Pagani Jr. was charged with aggravated cruelty toward animals, a felony, as well as a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge, according to a story by Beaver County Times reporter Garret Roberts.

Neighbor William Bittner, who helps care for the neighborhood strays, captured the Dec. 1 incident on his home security camera. The clip (embedded below) shows Pagani’s truck speeding up on the residential street and swerving toward cats who were in the road before blowing through a stop sign. Pagani Jr. then made a left turn to a side street and pulled into his driveway a few hundred feet away.

The 31-year-old was behind the wheel of the truck and his father, Frank Pagani Sr., was in the passenger seat during the incident, according to the Times. The Paganis live in New Galilee, a town of 379 people in rural Pennsylvania about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh.

In this still from Bittner’s video, Pagani’s white pickup truck aims for a cat, circled, in the road. The cat hasn’t been seen since.

Bittner said last week that Pagani Jr. called him after he realized the incident was caught on video and said he’d resign his council seat.

“He thinks that’s the end of it,” Bittner said at the time. “You just can’t let an act like that go on without someone being charged.”

Bittner and his neighbors have been caring for the stray colony for years. In addition to feeding the strays, they’ve run a trap, neuter and return (TNR) program, fixing 28 cats, and have found homes for kittens who were born to the colony cats.

The Pagani family apparently panicked when they realized Bittner had captured the incident on video and posted it to Facebook. Per the Times:

“The police affidavit also details repeated phone calls were made to the homeowner who caught the incident on camera by Pagani, his father and his mother. Voicemails received by police detail the family asking for the video to be taken down.”

The video shows Pagani’s truck striking at least one of the cats, who immediately ran off with the other strays. It’s not clear how badly the cat was injured, and Bittner said “he’s not showing up” at regular feeding times.

“We’ve been searching and searching and we can’t find him,” he told WKDA, the local CBS affiliate.

Locals who reacted to the video on Facebook were horrified by the footage.

“I adopted one of those kittens,” one woman commented. “This breaks my heart.”

7 thoughts on “Pa. Man Charged With Felony For Running Over Cat With His Truck”

  1. Not the same I know but here in the UK a woman was caught on video petting a cat and then pushing it into a rubbish bin and shutting the lid, her job and her life was wrecked by protesters writing, calling and turning up at the bank were she worked, the same should happen to this guy – pure evil

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Is this the one in Coventry?

      An article in the Guardian details the fury she’s faced, so I won’t pile on, but I just don’t get why so many people do horrible things to cats, and I don’t understand why people in the UK won’t consider keeping their cats indoors. Even with the “Croydon Cat Killer.” Maybe it was a person. Maybe it was one person and many copycats. Maybe it was foxes, as the police concluded. But that doesn’t change the fact that more than 500 (!) cats were brutally killed in the area of one neighborhood over two years.

      Same deal with poor Street Cat Bob, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Why was he outside?

      As for Frank Pagani Jr., I am not a fan of vigilantism or harassment. I hope his case is handled properly and he’s given an appropriate sentence. The PACT Act of 2019 made animal cruelty a felony across the board. It was a rare bi-partisan piece of legislation, passed unanimously, and finally gives prosecutors the tools to make sure animal abusers are held accountable.


  2. Pennsylvania has many VERY active animal welfare organizations. If this goes to court, at least a hundred or two – if not more – animal welfare activists will be in attendance.


    1. If he doesn’t plead, hopefully the case is addressed quickly. So many states take forever to work through cases. There hasn’t been a single update on that veterinarian who was caught on camera abusing a cat, for example, and there are other cases that are literally years old and still haven’t been resolved.


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