Animal cruelty charge filed against man in cat shooting

January 21, 1995|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

A Bel Air man who accidentally shot his finger while destroying his family's pet cat in his basement has been charged with animal cruelty and discharging a weapon within 150 yards of a residential dwelling, a sheriff's spokesman said yesterday.

Christopher Bledsoe, 26, of the 1900 block of Millington Square, Bel Air, was given a criminal summons Thursday after the Harford County state's attorney reviewed a deputy's report on the Jan. 5 incident.

According to the report, Mr. Bledsoe was not seriously injured but sought medical attention at Fallston General Hospital, where an emergency room nurse notified the sheriff's office of a shooting of a suspicious nature.

The deputy who investigated the incident reported that Mr. Bledsoe said he held the cat in his left hand and shot it with a gun he held in his right hand. The .22-caliber bullet passed through the cat and struck his left index finger.

Sgt. Edward Hopkins, the sheriff's spokesman, said he received more than a dozen calls complaining about the shooting after The Sun reported on it.

As soon as Sheriff Joseph P. Meadows became aware of the incident, he referred it to the state's attorney for review, the sergeant said. Mr. Bledsoe now must answer the charges at a trial in Harford District Court. No trial date has been set.

Mr. Bledsoe's wife, Kimberly, initially said that her husband had shot the cat, the deputy reported, and also that she did not ask her husband to get rid of the cat.

Her statement contradicted her husband, who told the nurse that he was cleaning his .22-caliber pistol when it fired.

The deputy's report indicated that the nurse became suspicious because there were no powder burns or residue near the wound "typical [of shots fired] at point-blank range."

The deputy also reported smelling a "strong odor of alcohol" on Mr. Bledsoe's breath during questioning.

Mr. Bledsoe later recanted the first version of his story, the deputy reported, and said that the family was having problems with the cat.

"Mr. Bledsoe stated that his wife told him to get rid of the cat," the deputy said.

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