STILLWATER, Minn. — An Oakdale man accused of setting his home on fire with multiple cats inside has been charged with arson and animal cruelty by the Washington County Attorney's Office.
Joshua Buhl made his first court appearance Tuesday morning, where he was charged with first-degree arson and five counts of felony animal cruelty in connection to the Jan. 22 fire.
According to prosecutors, the 42-year-old was reportedly under the influence of methamphetamine when he started a fire in his house on the 1100 block of Granada Avenue just after 11:15 p.m.
When first responders arrived, they found Buhl standing outside the home holding a black lighter, the complaint said. According to court documents, Buhl told officers "I started the fire" before he started to behave "erratically" and was taken into custody.
Firefighters were able to rescue four or five cats, which were surrendered to animal control.
"Multiple deceased cats and a red gas can" were found inside the home, and the front door was barricaded shut, according to the complaint. On Jan. 23, police executed a search warrant inside the home and found five dead cats, and officers are working to rescue another one that was heard crying inside the home.
According to the court documents, Buhl told investigators there were about 12 cats living inside the house.
The Washington County Attorney's Office says additional charges could be filed in the future. Buhl remains in custody on $100,000 bail.
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