A Grovetown man is facing jail time and thousands of dollars in fines if convicted of killing a cat he said was chasing squirrels in his front yard.
John Michael Kiernan III, 72, reportedly called the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office seeking information regarding his legal rights about a cat he killed.
Kiernan told the officer who returned his call that he killed the cat after it ran up a tree after chasing squirrels in his yard and he wanted to know what his rights were, according to the incident report. The officer told Kiernan that Animal Services would have to be contacted because the cat was dead.
The officer went to Kiernan’s residence in the 5400 block of Perry Mills Circle with Animal Services. Kiernan told the officer he was sitting inside his house and noticed the cat in a tree chasing squirrels. Kiernan then said he went outside with a butcher knife and made a noise to get the cat’s attention, at which time he grabbed the animal and cut its throat.
Kiernan also said an unknown dog came into his yard and ran away with the cat’s remains before the officer arrived.
A judge issued a warrant for Kiernan’s arrest on the charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony. Kiernan was booked into the Columbia County Detention Center on Sunday and released on $10,000 bond.
According to Columbia County sheriff’s Maj. Steve Morris, Kiernan does not have a criminal history with Columbia County.
Morris said Kiernan wouldn’t have been charged if the cat had been attacking a pet, poultry or livestock, not chasing a wild animal (squirrel).
If convicted, the felony charge carries possible jail time of no less than one year and up to five years and/or up to a $15,000 fine.