HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A Hagerstown man who killed one of his neighbor’s 17 cats with a BB gun has been fined $300 after pleading guilty to animal cruelty.

Patrick King, 48, also was sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation Wednesday in Washington County District Court.

A 60-day jail term was suspended.

King’s lawyer says her client only meant to scare away the animal when he saw it sitting on a back fence.

King told police that the owners allowed their cats to roam the neighborhood, causing damage to plants and upsetting dogs.

He also pleaded guilty to discharging a BB gun within city limits. The judge ordered him to forfeit the gun.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (23)
  1. bernard F Mc Kernan says:

    This is a person waiting to explode in the future & we will all hear the usual rants of Why, why wasn’t someone alerted to his behavior. Well Judical system, you read it here.

  2. www.AwarenessHelps.info says:

    Why oh why was the cat outside???!!!! Not to mention 16 others allowed to roam!!!! Death in some form is inevitable when people let their animals run, especially cats. This just infuriates me!!! These animals are in the care of their owner/guardian and some people see nothing wrong with letting them run unsupervised where they can be hit by a car (most likely), stolen for research and used for animal testing, poisoned, etc. or in this case shot. When will people friggin wake up?????? If you expect to leave your animals out and for them to return unharmed —- or even return at all, you are showing that you could care less about what happens to them – it is only a matter of time before something will happen. I have 3 and no question about it — they stay STRICTLY inside because I love and care about them.

    1. layla says:

      my cat is indoor outdoor yellow tabby male cat and does his business out side won’t even use a litter box, but that certainly doesn’t give any sob the right to torture an innocent animal?

      don’t ever tell me I don’t care about my cat, who do you think you are?

      1. www.AwarenessHelps.info says:

        I apologize for hitting a nerve but I advocate for animal protection. I speak for those who have no voice. And I am against PETA so please don’t even go there.

        I’m not sure if there is a fix for that problem of not using the litter box but to knowingly allow an animal to run loose in a dangerous environment, thereby subjecting the animal to possible and irreversable consequences and putting the animal’s life on the line, is not a smart move if someone cares about the animal. It tells me that the welfare of that animal is not of concern.

  3. layla says:

    why doesn’t the court just give him a license to do it all over again ? Probation are you kidding me, sob should be tortured and castrated

  4. Torrie says:

    He willfully discharged a weapon and “accidentally” killed the cat. What if he “accidentally” shoots at kids next time to “scare them off” and ends up killing one? Will the courts give him just a $300 fine – a life is a life. He had other recourses to take care of this matter – without inflicting harm on the animal (which was doing what was in it’s nature to do!) I have three cats and they are strictly indoors but one of them every now and then bolts out the front door whenever he sees his chance. I would be livid if someone deliberately brought harm to him.

  5. Gary says:

    While shooting this cat was wrong has does this neighbor have 17 cats? Isn’t that considered hording?

  6. Matt says:

    Wow… sounds like two mentally unstable people! One owns SEVENTEEN cats, the other SHOOTS them! There is no reason to kill a cat (unless he thought it was diseased or trying to hurt him, his family, or his pets), he should have just called animal control. Maybe he has complained to his cat hoarding neighbor, only to be ignored as the 17 cats terrorized him, his family, property, pets, etc. Or, maybe the cat hoarder is a perfect law abiding citizen with 17 prefectly behaved cats, and he has a crazy bb gun toating neighbor. We just dont know the full story. It is possible he didn’t mean to kill it. And a life is NOT a life… are you kidding me? It’s a CAT…

    1. Torrie says:

      Yes, a life is a life! It doesn’t matter whether it is a cat, a dog, or a human being! To believe otherwise is simply ignorant (as in uneducated).

      What is Life?

      Probably the best place to begin our discussion of the Earth’s biogeography is to answer the following question. What is life? While the reply to this question may appear simple, scientists have actually spent considerable time pondering this problem. In fact, many scientists would suggest that we still do not have a clear definitive answer to this question. Part of this problem is related to the existence of viruses and other forms of microscopic things. Some scientists define viruses as very complex organic molecules, while others suggest they are the simplest form of life.

      In a recent issue of the journal Science (March 22, 2002), molecular biologist Daniel E. Koshland Jr. was asked to write a special essay where he would set out to define life. In this article, he suggested that something could be considered “alive” if it meets the following seven conditions.

      (1). Living things must have a program to make copies of themselves from generation to generation. This program would describe both the parts that make up the organisms and the processes that occur between the various parts. These processes are of course the metabolic reactions that take place in a living thing allowing it to function over time. In most living systems, the program of life is encoded in DNA.

      (2). Life adapts and evolves in step with external changes in the environment. This process is directly connected to life’s program through mutation and natural selection. This condition allows life-forms to be optimized for gradual changes in the environment.

      (3). Organisms tend to be complex, highly organized, and most importantly have compartmentalized structures. Chemicals found within their bodies are synthesized through metabolic processes into structures that have specific purposes. Cells and their various organelles are examples of such structures. Cells are also the basic functioning unit of life. In multi-cellular organisms, cells are often organized into organs to create higher levels of complexity and function.

      (4). Living things have the ability to take energy from their environment and change it from one form to another. This energy is usually used to facilitate their growth and reproduction. We call the process that allows for this facilitation metabolism.

      (5). Organisms have regeneration systems that replace parts of themselves that are subject to wear and tear. This regeneration can be partial or it can involve the complete replacement of the organism. Complete replacement is necessary because partial replacements cannot stop the unavoidable decline in the functioning state of the entire living system over time. In other words, all organisms degrade into a final non-functioning state we call death.

      (6). Living creatures respond to environmental stimuli through feedback mechanisms. Cues from the environment can cause organisms to react through behavior, metabolism, and physiological change. Further, responses to stimuli generally act to increase a creature’s chance for day-to-day survival.

      (7). Organisms are able to maintain numerous metabolic reactions even in a single instance in time. Living things also keep each of these reactions separated from each other.

      1. Torrie says:

        And I might add it doesn’t matter if he meant to kill the cat or not, he took it upon himself to discharge a weapon in a residential zone. What if he had hit a child instead of the cat? How would you feel it you were living next to this “hothead” who rather than choose to resolve this through legitimate avenues instead loads up a weapon and starts firing away at a cat sitting on his back fence?

      2. Matt says:

        Wow- Sorry, but I am not going to read all that. I dont want a biology lesson, maybe someone else will read it. So, with life, a bug = a cat = a flower = a human??? You think that all life has the same value, and I am the ignorant /uneducated one? Coming from you, I am ok with that…

      3. Dan says:

        “Disharge a weapon in a residential zone” Lets be honest with ourselves…it was a BB gun. Hardly a weapon…You’ll put your eye out Ralphy!

      4. Torrie says:


        Thats just the basic foundation that scientist have come up with for what constitutes “a life”. Therefore a cat more than falls into the guidelines of “a life”. Obviously, you have little to no regard for lesser life forms.

        Criminologists have found that most violent criminals, and all known serial killers engaged in fire setting and the torture, mutilation and killing of animals. They do not value lesser life forms and do not have empathy for their suffering. As they mature – this lack of value for living animals coupled with a lack of empathy escalates up to violence against humans and the taking of human life.

        There were other ways to have dealt with this issue. He did not need to resort to this – he chose to handle it this way.

        Dan – a BB gun is a weapon and it can maim and kill – even a human, especially if discharged in a residential zone.

        Just like fireworks are not a grenade – still, if you hold it in your hand and it accidentally goes off – it can still take your hand off just like a grenade could.

      5. bernard F Mc Kernan says:

        Torrie, Its obvious from your list of rantings, you have NO life.

  7. Dan says:

    First off, isn’t hoarding animals illegal? Second, doesn’t he have a right to keep pests off his land? It’s no different than shooting a groundhog for digging up your yard, or killing a mouse in your pantry. How would you like it if My dog left piles in your yard? Or dug in your garden? Or what jhappens when your cat gets killed by a dog because he went into the dog’s yard? Then the dog gets put down. I think the real problem here is that people need to take responsibility for thier negligence and start respecting others.

  8. whatnow says:

    This man’s sentence is woefully inadequate. I like cats better than most people I know or run into in the course of a day. People who let their cats go outside may love them, but they have to accept the fact the cat will undoubtedly have a shorter life and tortorous death. The outdoor cats in my neighborhood were being stolen to train a fighting pit bull. How would you like your cat to end up with that being its final moments? I love cats, and have several inside myself, but even loving cats, it ticks me off when I plant or weed my flower bed and someone else’s cat do-do is in there. ICK!

  9. SAM says:

    I have a cat and a dog, and I consider myself a respectful pet owner. I do not let my cat roam outside for many of reasons, mostly RESPECT for my neighbors. There are leash laws in Maryland regarding canines. You can not just let your dog run all over the place. The big question I have is: Why isn’t it the same way for cats? These supposed good pet owners let their cats roam free through their neighborhoods . Their cats destroying and defecating in neighbors gardens and kids sandboxes. CAT FECES CAN TRANSMIT A DISEASE CALLED TOXOPLASMOSIS. I had a friend that felt very strongly about letting her cat go outside. She used a leed to teather her cat to so it would not be a nuisance to others, she showed RESPECT for other people. I feel that the cat owner should have been fined $300.00 per cat. I’m so sick and tired of hearing these cat owners cry and whine “poor poor pitful me”. Be a good pet owner and be respectful of the people around you.. The problem is the LACK OF RESPESCT IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY!!!

    1. Matt says:

      Agree… Excellent (maybe a little strong) point of view

  10. Paul says:

    Sounds like a hick coward to me, that 11 pound cat was a real terror to all mankind Right??? Im sorry to the owners for there loss, still a very bad world we live in, protect what you love

    1. Matt says:

      And you sound like a bleeding heart activist to me… Oh, what an awful horrible world, where cats (who btw are already over populated, having to be destroyed due to that, and this guy has 17???) get shot with BB guns! The horror! If that’s the worst thing going on, consider us lucky. We dont know the full story, so to make such an assumption doesn’t make you look real bright…

  11. Cathy J says:

    Athough I agree with all of you in some sort,the fact of the matter is he used an illegal weapon to kill a life,he recieved probation for the firearm not the killing of some poor cat.A lot of people have a lot of kids and let them run around.that does not give whoever has a grudge or mad to use a gun of any kind to shoot them.The person who had all those cats was also wrong for letting them out but still was a crime what that guy did.,He should have called the authorities or aniaml control,do not take matters into your own hands

    1. IJS... says:

      BB guns aren’t illegal weapons..A child can own one..

  12. mike says:

    Maybe he should hone his skills with a slingshot or a blowgun sounds like he has already mastered his bb gun. Spay , Nueter and Euthanise to control feral cats. Hold pet owners responsible for their pets.

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