Galveston birder's trial ends in mistrial
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — The trial of a prominent birdwatcher accused of animal cruelty for shooting a cat ended in a mistrial Friday after jurors couldn't reach a verdict.
Jim Stevenson, the founder of the Galveston Ornithological Society, has admitted he shot the cat last fall because he saw it hunting a threatened species of bird near the San Luis Bridge Pass. If convicted, he would have faced up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The trial sparked an Internet debate between cat lovers who decry Stevenson's actions and birders upset by the toll feral cats take on bird species. It's also raised questions about what makes an animal a pet, especially if it lives outside.
Jurors deliberated for more than eight hours before the judge declared the mistrial.