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Cottage Grove man charged after Oakdale home damaged, cat found dead

A Cottage Grove man is accused of trashing a home and torturing a cat that belonged to an Oakdale woman who had provided him a place to stay.

Scott A. Eberspacher, 34, faces two felony charges in Washington County District Court in connection with an October incident and the family's subsequent discovery of their dead cat in the garage.

According to the criminal complaint:

The woman had allowed Eberspacher to move in temporarily because he needed a place to stay. When she returned home in the evening of Oct. 11, she found the house had been trashed and Eberspacher was passed out on a couch. He later denied causing damage and left the home.

The woman found that a coffee table was broken, dishes and other items were broken, walls had been punched and dented and there were blood stains throughout the home. Also, the woman told police that the family's Persian cat was missing.

Eberspacher later sent the woman a text message to apologize for the damage and tell her the cat ran away. When police talked with Eberspacher, he said he "lost it" and damaged the home during a "psychotic break."

A week later the woman's daughter told police they had found the cat dead in their garage. A veterinarian conducted an autopsy on the animal and found significant trauma to the cat's body, including bruising to the legs, body and skull and brain and lung hemorrhages.

In a Nov. 11 interview with police, Eberspacher allegedly admitted that he had a "mental breakdown" after being told his mother was dying and he damaged his host's home. Shown a picture of the dead cat, Eberspacher said he did not mean to hurt the animal and that it was injured when he landed on the cat after he fell through the coffee table. Police talked to the vet, who said the cat's injuries were not consistent with Eberspacher's story.

Eberspacher is charged with first-degree property damage; damage to the home was estimated at $1,140. He also is charged with animal mistreatment/torture.

Eberspacher was arrested Tuesday and booked into the Washington County jail. A Dec. 15 court hearing is scheduled.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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