‘Your Baby is Going to Cook’: Accused Pet Killer’s Husband Says Ferret Owner Threatened Unborn Child
James Clifford sent NH1 this photo with the caption, "Does this look like a person who could kill an animal"
MANCHESTER — The husband of the woman who was arrested earlier this week for burning her roommates’ ferret in the oven is speaking out, defending his wife.
“I know for a fact, 100 percent that my wife didn’t do it, and I’m going to prove it,” James Clifford said.
Clifford said he was in a Massachusetts hospital early Wednesday morning getting treatment for a kidney disorder when he got a phone call from Cara Murray and James Klimavich telling him the alarm was going off and they were helping Clifford’s pregnant wife get downstairs to safety.
Manchester firefighters found the cause of the smoke was Murray and Klimavich’s burned ferret in the oven. According to court documents Clifford’s wife, Ivana, admitted to police she burned the pet alive. She was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty.
But Clifford is telling a different story.
Clifford said his wife is eight months pregnant and was told by doctors she needs to be on bedrest. He said they met Murray and Klimavich because they all lived in the same apartment building. The couple has been staying with Murray and Klimavich for the past few months because their apartment was being repaired due to flood damage.
Clifford called the couple, “nice people” for opening their door to him and his wife but said shortly after they moved in, the couple started telling Ivana she should leave Clifford.
“They’ve been trying to get my wife away from me ever since we moved in there three months ago,” Clifford said. “They tell my wife I’m demanding and I’m smothering her.”
After Ivana's arrest, Clifford said he talked to Murray and Klimavich and they admitted to him they told Ivana to take the fall for the ferret’s death.
“They told my wife to tell police and the judge she did it because she’s pregnant and she would get a lesser charge,” Clifford said.
He admits the ferret did bite his wife twice in the past, hard enough to draw blood, but said his wife wouldn’t retaliate.
“I know for a fact my wife wouldn’t put a ferret in the oven," he said. "If she was going to hurt an animal she would have started a long time ago."
Clifford said he’s not even sure you’re allowed to have pets like ferrets in their building.
“Ferrets aren’t pets; they’re rodents,” he said. “How can you have a rodent in an apartment building?”
Clifford said he is currently in hiding because he’s received numerous death threats since the story broke, including from Klimavich.
He said he just wants for him and his family to be left alone.
Clifford said he has spoken to an attorney who is trying to help. He said he reached out to the Manchester Police Department but they won’t talk to him about the case. And he said, since his wife could give birth any day now, he’s trying to file for custody of their unborn daughter.
Clifford acknowledges his wife has some issues but said, “She needs mental help. She doesn’t belong in prison.”