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Man gets probation and suspended sentence for shooting cat

February 02, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — A Hagerstown man who killed one of his neighbors' 17 cats with a BB gun was placed on probation Wednesday in Washington County District Court after pleading guilty to animal cruelty.

"He never intended to hit the cat," defense attorney Erika Peteranecz told Judge Mark Thomas of her client, Patrick King, 48, of 1126 Outer Drive.

The cat was sitting on a back fence on Aug. 25 when King shot it with a BB gun in an attempt to frighten it away, she said.

King's shot, however, struck the cat in the head, killing it, according to the charging documents filed by Hagerstown police.

When King learned the cat was dead he was "visibly shaken, and it was my belief that he did not mean to kill the cat," the officer wrote.

King told the officer that his neighbors, Albert and Nancy Frisbie, allowed their cats to roam the neighborhood, causing damage to plants and upsetting his dogs, the charging documents said.

"I told counsel in chambers that, when I was 13, I took a BB gun and shot a cat" that wandered into the yard, Thomas told King. Since then, "the world has changed," and with it, the way society treats animals, the judge said.

Another neighbor, Neil McConnell, came to King's defense, telling Thomas he had filed complaints against the Frisbies with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals about the cats running loose. The problem had been ongoing for years, he said.

King also pleaded guilty to discharging the BB gun within city limits. In exchange for the plea, a charge of malicious destruction of property was dismissed.

Thomas gave King a 60-day suspended sentence, placed him on unsupervised probation for a year and fined him $300.

"The BB gun is forfeited," Thomas said.

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