Archive for Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Apologies offered in cat killings

Suspects plead no contest to charges in Barton County District Court

December 20, 2000

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— Muffin spent most of her time indoors, but the 13-year-old cat usually was willing to walk down the block with owner Joyce Bosey and her grandchildren.

On the night of Sept. 30, Muffin went outside and never returned.

Bosey had her say in court Monday afternoon, when five Hoisington men charged with killing cats entered pleas in Barton County District Court.

"I would like for them to explain to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren where their Muffin is," Bosey said.

Travis Urban, 26; Tyler Curtcher, 22; Jacob Williams, 21; Jeremiah Morris, 23; and Brian Bailey, 28, each pleaded no contest to one count of cruelty to animals. Barton County Atty. Rick Scheuffler dropped additional charges of theft.

The men were sentenced to one year of probation and 25 hours of community service at the Barton County Humane Society. Magistrate Judge Don Alvord also revoked the men's hunting privileges in Kansas for one year.

Four cats three identified as pets were taken from Hoisington into the country and killed with shotguns.

Jim Carney said his 17-year-old daughter was still looking for her missing pet when she went to school and heard a girl bragging about four or five cats being shot over the weekend.

With news of the crime out on the streets, the men turned themselves in and wrote letters of apology to the area newspaper, The Hoisington Dispatch.

If they hadn't come forward, the state would have had a hard time prosecuting the case, defense attorney Don Reif said.

"We've got angry victims, and five young men who are genuinely remorseful for what they did," Reif said. "I tend to view this as something that was stupid on their part to do."

While they deserve the public ridicule they've endured, Reif said, they shouldn't be forced to leave town, lose their jobs or face lifelong humiliation, as some have suggested.

Some victims asked for restitution, and Carney suggested $436 the amount he had spent on veterinarian bills for his cat over the years.

Carney's calculation is probably a good way to determine the value of a pet, Scheuffler said.

"You can't put a price on a pet," he said. "I'm sure that amount would be inadequate to satisfy the victims' sense of loss."

Carney said the money wasn't an issue, and he would donate any restitution to the humane society.

The men are known in town and are "good kids," he said. "I don't want to ruin their lives."

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