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Archive for Saturday, January 27, 2001

PETA takes interest in cat killing

January 27, 2001

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National animal rights activists are crying for full penalties against a Lawrence man accused of killing a cat.

Martin Mersereau, caseworker for People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), based in Norfolk, Va., sent a letter to Lawrence Municipal Court prosecutor Tom Porter about the incident.

He urged Porter to "remain sensitive to the extremely violent and malicious nature of this attack."

Mersereau also asked that the suspect, Brett Rizzo, be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Porter, however, has already sent the case to the Douglas County District Attorney's Office for review. Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney Tonkovich said her office would determine whether it would be possible to file charges under state law that would carry harsher penalties than Municipal Court. As of Friday the case was still under review.

Rizzo was cited with cruelty to animals and criminal damage to property in connection with the killing of "Mama Cat." The cat's mangled body was found Jan. 17 in a Dumpster by groundskeepers at Meadowbrook Apartments, 101-T Windsor Place.

A few weeks earlier the cat gave birth to four kittens, groundskeepers said. Two had been given away before the mother's death. The other two remain at the complex under the care of the groundskeepers.

"We've had several calls from people wanting to adopt them but we're going to keep them here," said Tony Frentrop, one of the groundskeepers.

Thirty-one states have laws making cruelty to animals a felony, Mersereau said. Kansas is not one of them.

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