This site is dedicated to my cats who were brutally stabbed to death by Russell Swigart. I wanted to provide a destination for my supporters to receive updates about court proceedings and parole hearings. Media coverage is provided here as well. My goal is justice for my cat's lives and to advocate for animal rights and educate people about the dangers of domestic violence.

Northern Kentucky woman fights domestic violence against pets and people- Awarded Amy Jones Advocacy Award at annual Day of Peace Event!

Three years after a former co-worker broke into Bridgett Wright's Lakeside Park home and stabbed two of her cats to death, the 33-year-old has become an advocate for stronger laws to protect people and pets from domestic violence.

For her efforts, Wright will receive the Amy Jones Advocacy Award at the 17th annual Day of Peace event Friday in Covington. The award is named for the Ohio woman who survived three attempts on her life by her husband and used her ordeal to help others.

This year's Day of Peace event highlights stalking and pet abuse - often hidden forms of dating/domestic violence, said Tasha Wilder, a community educator with the Women's Crisis Center and chairperson of the Day of Peace committee. The Illusion Modeling Group at Holmes High School also will be recognized for donating proceeds of calendar sales to end domestic violence.

"Bridgett has taken a tragedy in her life, and she's tried to turn it into a positive," said Dan Evans, executive director of the Kenton County Animal Shelter. "Hers was the first case prosecuted under Romeo's Law in Kentucky that made it a felony to kill a domesticated animal."

Russell Swigart, the Highland Heights man who killed Wright's cats, was sentenced to 10 years for burglary and two years for torturing the cats.

Last February, Wright made sure that Swigart, who terrorized at least three other women and their pets, was denied parole. She presented the Kentucky Parole Board with thousands of petition signatures collected on the social networking site to keep him locked up.

"Bridgett started her petition on hoping to get 1,000 signatures to support her cause before the Kentucky Parole Board," said Stephanie Feldstein of "But her story inspired more than 15,700 people to join her campaign. Bridgett was not only empowered to advocate for herself, but she's become an incredible advocate for other women and animals."

Wright was out of town on business when Swigart broke into her townhome the night of Sept. 25, 2008, armed with an 11-inch hunting knife.

Swigart stabbed to death two of Wright's cats named Piggy and Mr. Frank. A third cat, Alley, hid and wasn't hurt.

Swigart and Wright had met at a medical supply company, where he had hired her as a sales representative, according to court records. The two had dated a couple of times, but Swigart no longer worked for the company, and Wright had stopped seeing him more than a year before he broke into her home.

The night of the break-in, a frantic Wright, who was in Ashland, called authorities after she received a series of alarming, unsolicited text messages from Swigart.

"Bridgett Wright is likely alive today only because she took a last-minute, out-of-town business trip," Justin Sanders, the prosecutor in Wright's case, wrote in a letter to the Kentucky Parole Board.

Recently, Wright has told her story to various groups, to ensure that the deaths of her pets were not in vain and to prevent other women from going through what she did.

"You need to watch out for somebody who's controlling, someone who shows extreme jealousy, mood swings or sudden bursts of anger for no reason," she said. "An abuser also tends to have poor relationships with family and often has compulsive behaviors when it comes to alcohol, drugs or gambling."

Like many victims, Wright initially blamed herself for the violence that her former boss had inflicted on pets she considered part of her family.

"I felt guilty for ever having been associated with him, for not seeing the signs and realizing that he could be violent," she said.

As she researched Swigart's background, however, Wright realized that he had victimized other women and could just as easily have fixated on someone else.

Wright - who was forced to give up her home and leave a job in which she excelled - suffered from post traumatic stress disorder after the break-in. She battled anxiety and depression, and she's spent years in counseling.

After Swigart's sentencing, Wright said she realized she could "roll over and be a victim, or (she) could stand up for herself and make sure that (her perpetrator) served the sentence that he was dealt."

Wright worked alongside prosecutors during the 15 months leading up to Swigart's guilty plea, even though it made her physically ill every time she had to face him in court. When Swigart came up for parole, she successfully lobbied to keep him behind bars another two years, and she plans to fight his parole again in February 2013.

These days, Wright has a website devoted to her late pets, She has 650 animal rights friends on her Facebook page, and she continues to fight for animal rights through national petitions.

In Kentucky, she's lobbied for a law that would consider the manner in which a weapon is used in determining the penalty for using it in a criminal act.

"The fact that (Swigart) broke into my house with an 11-inch buck knife was considered second-degree breaking and entering instead of first-degree," Wright said. "A deadly weapon in Kentucky, as a relates to a knife, is a foot long. Anything under a foot, you can break into someone's house and shave 10 years off your sentence."

Wright, who says she was unaware of her former co-worker's violent history until after she was victimized, has a civil suit pending against Swigart and her former employer.

"I think Bridgett has shown a lot of strength throughout the whole process," Sanders said. "She was very involved in the prosecution of her case, and she's done a remarkable job of confronting the man who terrorized her.

"She's been very brave, very strong, and she deserves all the accolades that come her way."

By Cindy Schroeder
The Kentucky Enquirer