Nevada woman charged with killing her cats in order to banish ‘demons’
(KOLO 8 ABC News) SPARKS, Nevada – Disturbing details out of Sparks– a woman accused of torturing and killing two of her cats.
Sparks police confirm Elizabeth Bergland was arrested after her mother called in, saying she was having a mental breakdown that caused her to banish what she calls her “demons.”
December 3, 2014, police say Bergland lost touch with reality inside her home and the delusions led her to kill her own cats.
“She has no history as far as cruelty to animals,” said Lt. Chad Hawkins. “We’ve had contact with her in the past that has been minimal contact, but nothing like this.”
Sparks police arrived at the 500 block of K Street. finding the 35-year-old under what they call a mental breakdown. As they continued to investigate, they found the result of that episode in Bergland’s bathroom.
“We found out that she had killed two of her cats, one she had strangulated with an electrical cord in her bathroom and the second cat she had hit with a golf club and killed that cat also,” Lt. Hawkins said.
Police say the cat she had strangled was also set on fire.
“During one of her mental health breakdown she thought they were possessed by the devil or Satan and that’s why she did what she did she said,” he added.
The family told police she’s had a long history of mental illness but had stopped taking her medicine.
Beverly Paschal, a longtime family therapist, says mentally disabled people have their brains wired that way.
“Their delusion is their reality,” she said. “They don’t think it’s a delusion, they think it’s real, so to them, they do go and carry out what they believe what they’re told to do.”
Bergland went through a mental health evaluation; she has since been getting help. She is charged with two counts of animal cruelty and torture and one count of third-degree arson.
“If you have somebody in your house and you know they have a mental illness of any sort, find out what it is and find out if your animals are safe there,” Paschal said.
Sparks police say she didn’t have any other animals in her home.
They say Bergland was stable enough to be released from jail as long as she will make frequent mental health follow-ups and continues to take medicine.
No word yet on how she will plead; that will determine a court date.