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WCU student arrested, accused of killing ex-girlfriend's cat

Robert Dula Jr., 20, of Granite Quarry, faced accusations of repeatedly hitting, choking and throwing the 14-year-old cat on April 24. (Photo credit: Caitlyn Tolbert)

Jackson County sheriff's deputies arrested a Western Carolina University sophomore accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's cat.

Robert Dula Jr., 20, of Granite Quarry, faced accusations of repeatedly hitting, choking and throwing the 14-year-old cat on April 24.

Caitlyn Tolbert, a sophomore at WCU, got an off-campus apartment with her cat named Cole.

"He was getting up there in years, and I didn't want to be away at college for his last few years. So, I got my own apartment to have, so I could have him with me,” Tolbert said.

According to Tolbert, she and Dula dated for about three months.

"Most of the nights, he ended up staying with me instead of in his dorm, because it was a nicer apartment,” Tolbert said.

Dula had issues with Cole, Tolbert said, and a friend reached out to her about Cole after speaking with Dula.

"[The friend] said 'Hey, like he said some stuff in these messages that sounds like he might be kind of jealous of your cat,'" Tolbert said.

Tolbert said she confronted Dula.

"So, as far as that, it was kind of resolved past that. He was even, in front of me at least, taking steps towards being more friendly towards the cat,” Tolbert said.

In April, while working on campus, Tolbert said she got a call from Dula.

"He was just like, 'He's gone. He's dead,' and I broke down crying,” Tolbert said.

Tolbert believed the cat died from old age until, she said, one of Dula's friends approached her at work the next day.

"He had seen the messages that [Dula] essentially bragged about it on Facebook messenger," Tolbert said.

According to Tolbert, she broke up with Dula the day after her cat died.

"He responded and said, 'It’s not like that,'” Tolbert said. “I told him, 'It is now. I've called the police. I don't want you to come back here.’ I mean, at that point, I was scared, too, because I was like there's a whole side of him I haven't seen."

Attempts to reach Dula for comment were unsuccessful.

He is expected to appear in court on May 23.

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