County man charged in cat-slaying

A 31-year-old man sliced the throat of a cat belonging to his landlord and threw it into a nearby trash bin, Prince William County police said Thursday.

Timothy P. Zopp, of 8309 Yorkshire Lane, north of Manassas Park, faces charges of animal cruelty after the cat’s owner found the feline in the trash across the street from her home earlier this month. Police did not provide a motive.

Zopp rented part of the house from the cat’s owner.

“[The woman] discovered that the cat was missing on May 5,” said Detective Dennis Mangan, a spokesman for county police. “On [May 7], they found its collar [in the adjacent parking lot]. They went in the Dumpster, started digging around and found the (gray and white) cat.”

County police found additional clues that led them to Zopp, who turned the knife over to them, Mangan said.

Zopp faces a July 3 court date, Mangan said. If convicted, Zopp could face up to 12 months in jail, according to the office of the commonwealth’s attorney.

Dr. Jim McDonald, a veterinarian at Woodbridge Animal Hospital, said that instances of animal abuse have been a persistent presence in Prince William County.

“It has been equal to the rise of child abuse and spousal abuse,” McDonald said. “It’s pretty disgusting.

“The county police are pretty diligent when it comes to animal cruelty,” McDonald added. “I’ve had to go to court several times. They will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”

Staff writer Adam H. Beasley can be reached at (703) 878-8065.

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