This just crossed my deskAttorney: Killing Wal-Mart cat legal
January 5, 2005
EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Two former Wal-Mart employees did not break state law when they shot and killed a cat on store property, said an attorney for one of the men.
Attorney Michael Keating said Indiana law allows people to kill stray animals on their property.
"Had they taken a shotgun with a deer slug and blown it into little bitty pieces, no crime would have been committed," he said Tuesday.
"You can shoot a stray animal on your property; that's been the law in Indiana since the time of the formation of the state," added Keating, who represents former assistant manager Christopher Anderson.
Vanderburgh County sheriff's deputies arrested Anderson, 29, and another former assistant manager, Jeffrey Hardin, 21, on Dec. 28.
Anderson told investigators that he shot the cat with a pellet gun after the manager ordered employees to get rid of the animal, which was living in a storage trailer behind the store on the city's east side.
The cat was wounded but survived, a sheriff's report said, and the next day Anderson and Hardin repeatedly shot the cat with a pellet gun until it died.
Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Stan Levco said Tuesday that he had decided not to file charges against former store manager Darrel Weitzel after investigators determined Weitzel had not ordered Anderson to kill the cat.
"They said he never did instruct him to shoot the cat; he instructed him to 'get rid of' the cat," Levco said.
Anderson and Hardin initially were arrested on felony animal cruelty charges. Those charges were dismissed Tuesday and Levco said he would file misdemeanor charges against the men.
Wal-Mart said Tuesday that four managers and an hourly employee had been fired for violating company policy following an internal investigation of the incident. Spokeswoman Sharon Weber said she could not release their names because of company policy.
The Arkansas-based retailer condemned the shooting and pledged to donate $10,000 to be split between pet groups in Vanderburgh County and neighboring Warrick County.
The Vanderburgh County Humane Society had not been contacted about the donation as of Tuesday, said its director, Kendall Paul.