Oakdale man to serve probation for arson, fire killed 5 cats

An Oakdale man was sentenced Tuesday for starting a fire at his home last January that killed several of his cats.

Joshua Buhl, 43, was convicted in Washington County Court of 5th degree arson — setting fire to personal property. Buhl also got 5 counts of animal cruelty for each of the cats. Court records show Buhl opted not to have a trial by jury, meaning the presiding judge weighed the evidence of the case and issued a ruling on each count.

At sentencing Tuesday, Judge Siv Mjanger ordered Buhl to serve supervised probation for 2 years.

According to court records, Buhl received credit for 92 days served at the Washington County Jail. Buhl has 272 days to serve if he doesn’t follow probation conditions. Also, Buhl must pay $212 in fines and fees.

On Jan. 22, 2023, Oakdale Police and firefighters were called to the 1100 block of Granada Avenue North around 11:15 p.m. after a neighbor reported seeing smoke from a house, according to the criminal complaint.

Court documents state Buhl told authorities that he started the fire and allegedly had drugs in his pocket. Police took him into custody and found a few cats still living inside, as well as five dead cats.

According to a press release by the Washington County Attorney’s Office, Buhl said he started the fire to get law enforcement’s attention.