UT Dallas student gets six-plus years in prison for cruelty to animals
A student at the University of Texas at Dallas was convicted of animal cruelty in what one investigator called one of the worst cases of animal torture they've seen.
Shubhankar Kawle was found guilty of Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals - Torture, a 3rd Degree Felony, at a criminal jury trial that concluded Thursday, August 31 at the Hunt County Courthouse, 354th Judicial District Court.
He was sentenced to six and a half years in prison without probation and immediately taken into custody.
Kawle was found guilty for torturing at least two cats, one so extensively that the cat had to be euthanized.
According to a release from the SPCA, the investigation began in October 2021, when a Hunt County Sheriff’s Deputy was dispatched to a residence in Quinlan to investigate a complaint of animal cruelty. The complainant informed the Deputy that they had noticed their two cats being injured in odd and sometimes severe ways.
When one of the complainant’s cats was injured to the point of needing its leg amputated, they set up a nanny camera in their residence.
On Saturday, October 9, 2021, the camera recorded Kawle torturing the complainant’s other cat, Nimbus, over a period of five hours. This cat was ultimately euthanized due to her extensive injuries.
The investigation continued through October 14, during which investigators observed several signs of extreme abuse, including stains on the walls of the residence and a metal rod. They obtained radiographs and medical history from the vet clinic that had humanely euthanized the cat and determined that the cat’s injuries were consistent with the abuse seen on video footage.
On October 15, 2021, SPCA of Texas Chief Investigator Courtney Burns filed an arrest warrant for Kawle, who was arrested on October 20, 2021, by the University of Texas at Dallas Police, where he attended class. He was transported to Lew Sterrett Jail, where he was charged with Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals – Torture. He was released under a $50,000 bond.
The SPCA of Texas Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit provided testimony at the trial, where the video was played as evidence.
"Torturing an animal is inhumane and illegal, and what Mr. Kawle did to Nimbus was not only horrific and heartbreaking, but one of the single worst cases of animal torture I’ve seen in my career," said Chief Investigator Burns. "I'm pleased to see the perpetrator of this heinous crime brought to justice."
A 3rd Degree Felony in Texas carries a prison sentence of two to 10 years. Additionally, there is a documented link between animal cruelty and human violence. When animals are abused, people are at risk; when people are abused, animals are at risk.
The SPCA of Texas has a team of Animal Cruelty Investigators who carry Peace Officer commissions and have the authority to investigate, file charges and make arrests in cases of animal cruelty. The SPCA of Texas has Memoranda of Understanding to support animal cruelty investigations in Hunt and Van Zandt Counties.