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Can you believe this!?!?!?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Landlord acquitted of killing 2 cats

FREDERICK, Md. — A landlord who shot and killed two cats after a tenant refused to get rid of them was acquitted of felony charges yesterday, the first court test of Maryland's new animal-cruelty statute.
Frederick County Circuit Judge Mary Stepler found Eric Grossnickle destroyed the cats in a legally acceptable manner by blasting them with a 12-gauge shotgun — the same method used to dispatch unwanted animals on the family's Myersville farm.
"I don't like what he did, but it's not a crime under Maryland law," Judge Stepler said.
The ruling left the cats' owner, April Ritch, frustrated and tearful.
"There is no justice whatsoever," Miss Ritch said, clutching a tin box containing Babe's and Angel's remains. "It's not a crime to take somebody's house pets from their home and shoot them and kill them?"
Judge Stepler also acquitted Mr. Grossnickle of theft, but convicted him on two counts of malicious destruction of property, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The judge said sentencing would be in six weeks but did not specify a date.
Mr. Grossnickle and his attorney, Richard P. Bricken, refused to comment afterward.
Mr. Grossnickle did not deny shooting the cats, which were killed Oct. 1, the same day the animal-cruelty law took effect. According to court testimony, he told Miss Ritch five times to get rid of the cats or he would do it for her because they were reducing the home's value by damaging the walls and carpets.
Frederick County State's Attorney Scott Rolle went to Annapolis last year to testify in favor of the animal-cruelty law, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison plus a $5,000 fine and psychological counseling.
Thirty-seven states have such laws, according to Julie Janovsky, a legislative issues specialist with the Humane Society of the United States, one of several animal welfare groups with representatives at the three-day trial. They wore pins reading, "Cruelty is a Crime."
Court rules prohibit the state from appealing Judge Stepler's verdict, but Mr. Rolle said the law's definition of "cruelly killing" an animal might need clarification.
Assistant State's Attorney Laura Corbett, who prosecuted Mr. Grossnickle, said the cats were "unnecessarily, unjustifiably and, therefore, cruelly killed."
Judge Stepler said the law does not define the phrase. Although the state prohibits inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering on animals, it allows killing them humanely for food processing, hunting, scientific research, pest control and agricultural practices.
Since Mr. Grossnickle killed the cats quickly, using a method accepted by farmers and with no intention of causing them unnecessary suffering, he did not break the law, Judge Stepler said.


This is incredible! I'm happy to say it's totally illegal to shoot anyone's pets over here in Israel. Even if a pet needs to be put down only the city vet is allowed to carry it out and only in a humane manner - definitely not by shooting!

The original story:


The picture of that woman carrying the remains of her furbabies and weeping just broke my heart....
post #2 of 14
That's so sad I don't understand how some people can be so cruel to animals.
post #3 of 14
I'd personally like to shoot that man's **** off!
post #4 of 14
What a sick a$$hole! I can't believe that they even allow people to "humanely" shoot animals. that's sick in my opinion.
post #5 of 14
If he was that unhappy, why didn't he just evict his tenant? Or I guess maybe the courts wouldn't have looked upon it as favorably if he decided to blast her with a shotgun? This sucks!
post #6 of 14
That is just horrible!!!

I can't believe he didn't receive more punishment than that!! And that poor woman who has to mourn her cat's deaths. I feel so bad for those cats!!!
post #7 of 14
People can just be so hateful and insensitive. God remembers those fur babes and you can bet He remembers what this A@@ did to them!
post #8 of 14
I'm ashamed and embarrassed to say that Frederick, MD isn't that far from me I don't want to be associated with people like that.
post #9 of 14
That is very sad and disgusting. We have the same "law". We live in the country, if another animal comes on our property and we notify the owner to keep their pet home and they don't do it, it is legal
to shoot them. A few years ago when we first got our 4 yr. Rott. we kept her tied up in the horse barn until we were sure she wouldn't stray. She could go in and out as she pleased. The dog that lived up the road 1/2 mile would come down everyday and tease Kasey, bark and growl at her, just staying out of Kasey's reach. I called the owners many times and finally called the sheriff's department, thinking they would warn the people to keep the dog home or pick up the dog. I was shocked and stunned when they told me we could shoot the dog, we live in the country and the city laws don't apply!! And this is the same county! Our county is terrible, the one and only shelter is a pig sty and the animals aren't taken care of. I've dealt with the sheriff
department more than once about animal abuse. I'm better off beating my head against a cement wall! Oops, getting side tracked again.
post #10 of 14
...but in some parts of the world it's ok to stone a woman to death for adultery, so go figure--

post #11 of 14
Hi. I'm new to this forum

I read about this story and I just think it's absolutely horrible that someone could do that to an animal. They say the law was on his side but how can you consider what he did humanely killing an animal ? Morally what he did was wrong just very wrong. I just cant fathome what that poor woman is going through..

*hugs my charlie*
post #12 of 14
I would have thought the legal thing he could have done was evict the woman if she didn't comply with his requests as a landlord. But I suppose that would have been the logical, humane, and human thing to do. I would have to say he doesn't fit any of those categories.
post #13 of 14
Is there anybody we can write to, i.e. state senators, etc. so they can amend the law? Also, does anyone have the woman's e-mail address so that we can write her letters of condolence?
post #14 of 14
Its horrible that animals aren't protected under our justice system.

I bet the reason he didn't evict her ( legally evict her I mean ) is that it costs a lot of $$$$$$ to do so. Most states are "pro-tenant", meaning that the landlord has to incur the costs of the eviction. I had a family member once who was trying to get an alcoholic out of their apartment, and it ended up costing her $1450 to boot after all was said and done. She had to pay lawyer fees, and get this, the MOVING FEES since the woman could not afford it. Yep, she had to pay for this woman to get out.

So my guess is he took what he thought was the 'easy' way out, and unfortunately the cats were the victims. He should have gotten a just punishment, its a shame.
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