Metro: North Philly teen who duct-taped cat has background of violence

Sticky, who was wrapped in duct tape, is doing fine. Photo: RIKARD LARMA/METRO
Sticky, who was wrapped in duct tape, is doing fine. Photo: RIKARD LARMA/METRO

I had two stories and a couple briefs in today’s Metro, including news of the arrest of a teenager who allegedly duct-taped a tabby cat now dubbed Sticky.

The North Philadelphia teenager who was arrested for allegedly wrapping a cat in duct tape lost both his father and brother to street violence in the last two years, said the Pennsylvania SPCA’s chief law enforcement officer.

Read the rest here.

We were searching for a fresh angle on this story, which has received widespread attention. AP’s coverage made it national, being picked up by the Washington Post to name just one. TV news followed it closely too — of course they did because it involves a cute animal — including an in-house appearance by the cat Sticky on the Fox affiliate in Philadelphia, which you can see below, in addition to how the story was reported.


A press release from the PSPCA about the capture of the teen went out Monday night and was first spotted on CBS 3’s Web site. My editor wanted something a bit fresher for today’s paper, so he pushed for something on why a kid would do something like that.

The Inquirer wrote this afternoon that the cat has found a home. See below Fox 29 welcoming Sticky before its alleged teen persecutor was arrested.

After tracking down the requisite facts, I took a photographer to the 2100-block of N. 22nd Street, a block of tall, graceful but mostly abandoned three-story rowhomes. I spoke to a handful of the residents who were around, though all but one said they’d never heard of the kid.

The one who I did speak to identified himself as a former mental health counseler who lived in the neighborhood and knew the kid once removed and said he always thought him to have some mental development shortcomings. Though it was said in passing on another report, I couldn’t confirm any investigation of that by the police or the PSPCA, so we needed to go another direction.

At nearly 7 p.m. last night, I spoke to the law enforcement officer of the PSPCA who addressed something to the kid’s state of mind that I hadn’t seen yet.

The 19-year-old who ostensibly grew up on a decimated block in a rough neighborhood had lost both his brother and father to street violence in the past two years.

“He’s got a lot of rage inside of him,” that law enforcement officer told me. “The psychiatric help he could receive may be a blessing in disguise.”

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I also compiled a profile of three unemployed Philadelphia 20-somethings who should be hired that ran in today’s issue of Metro. That piece wasn’t put online, but one of the sources e-mailed me to say several employers had reached out because of the story — we included contact information for those profiled. Glad to see some real response there.