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     I just want to state again how really awful and misleading this reporting by Tom Knapp is. He should have absolutely stated that Graham was not in the courtroom and not involved in the case and that he made an entirely separate phone call to Graham after the hearing for his opinion.
     This is not acceptable journalism by any standard!


     What LNP reporter Tom Knapp did not tell us in his coverage of Jeffrey Chapman’s court appearance for shooting a feral cat is why (click here)? If he or his attorney offered an explanation of what caused him on a Sunday in January to pull out a gun and shoot the cat it is not in Knapp’s coverage.
     Are feral cats a huge problem? Yes. Do I believe people should go around shooting feral cats? No. Do I believe there might be extenuating circumstances that might make it a “gray area” of the law (see yesterday’s post)? Yes – if he believed the cat was rabid; if the cat was attacking livestock – chickens or rabbits – he keeps on his property then there would be “justification” for him shooting the cat. We don’t know why Chapman shot the cat.
     What we do know is the DA’s office spent a lot of our money to prosecute him. Like most Common Pleas Court criminal dockets there are hearings and continuances and conferences and these all involve highly paid judges and prosecutors.
     And what do I think of the sentence Judge Margaret Miller imposed? Ridiculous. Two years of probation? Why? That costs the public even more money to pay the probation officer.
     He is 28, has no prior record and there is no evidence of him killing any other animals. It is highly doubtful that he will become a serial killer as some commenters suggested. Let him pay the $650 fine and be done with it. Community service? What’s the point unless it’s at a shelter or rescue group?
     This has already cost Chapman a huge amount. His picture was all over LNP and other media for days and he paid for a private attorney and probably missed several days of work.
     And then there is this from Knapp’s article:
     Miller [Judge Margaret Miller] asked Chapman if he considered trapping the cat humanely and taking it to a veterinarian for care.
     Besides the fact that as commenters noted it is not easy to trap a cat, what kind of care? Having the vet euthanize it or having the vet neuter the cat and giving it back?
     If the judge meant for the vet to euthanize it – it seems to me a needle and a clean gun shot are about the same. And if the judge truly meant “care,” that’s a large bill and then what is he then supposed to do with the cat? The vet will not take it. A shelter will not take it. It is feral – it is wild – it can bite and claw and hurt you badly! No shelter will take it – and if they do they may charge you and then they will put the cat down – it is not adoptable! It is feral.
      I know this. I have been through this! There are no easy answers – but there is one rule that I posted here when this story first broke: Do not feed feral cats. Period.
     I’ll come back to this briefly and then move on before going on Labor Day vacation.   


  1. OnTheBeachByNoon says:

    I dont have access to it right now but the case is on the PA UJS Portal. I guess it ended in 2011. In this case, I am not sure a crime was committed. No victim, no malice, no reason to ruin someone’s life. 650.00 would probably have prevented him from doing it again. It doesn’t sound like he needs to be “rehabilitated”, which is the purpose of ARD (and expungement), but there is nothing to expunge if one isn’t overcharged in the first place. In Girouard’s case, the dog was a pet and its death traumatized an entire family. Plus, you are not allowed to fire bullets in your backyard. HE should have been locked up. I don’t know anything about cats but I have a neighbor who houses and feeds stray cats in her garage and leaves milk out for them in the driveway, and I often see dead cats on the side of the road – hit by cars, I guess. That sounds pretty cruel to me. …I don’t bother chasing mice around… (Sorry, the musician in me just came out…lol)

  2. Lang Kisster says:

    Now if only law enforcement and the courts would be this aggressive when it comes to Amish and the many other plain cults when they abuse animals.

  3. OnTheBeachByNoon says:

    In 2011, a neighbor shot and killed another neighbor’s dog that was on his property, but not a threat. (He went into his house to get the gun. Could have stayed inside and called 911). Charged w/reckless endangerment, cruelty to animals, etc and he pled down to something and I don’t think he got 2-yrs probation. He paid a higher fine due to restitution, but other than that, a slap on the wrist if I remember correctly. It is public record if you want to check. His name is Brian J. Girouard.