Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Galveston birder's trial begins

From the New York Times:

GALVESTON, Tex., Nov. 13 — Jurors heard opening arguments on Tuesday in the trial of a bird-watching enthusiast who fatally shot a cat that he said was stalking endangered shorebirds.

The defendant, James M. Stevenson, is the founder of the Galveston Ornithological Society and leads bird-watching tours on this Gulf Coast island 60 miles southeast of Houston. If convicted on animal cruelty charges in the shooting last November, he faces up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Mr. Stevenson, 54, does not deny using a .22-caliber rifle fitted with a scope to kill the cat, which lived under the San Luis Pass toll bridge, linking Galveston to the mainland. He also admits killing many other cats on his own property, where he operates a bed and breakfast for some of the estimated 500,000 birders who come to the island every year.

In her opening statement, Paige L. Santell, a Galveston County assistant district attorney, told the jury of eight women and four men that Mr. Stevenson “shot that animal in cold blood” and that the cat died a slow and painful death “gurgling on its own blood.”
On a personal note, I don't think this trial would've come to fruition if more humans took more responsibility for cats' safety and kept them indoors.



Blogger Susan Gets Native said...


While I applaud the stones it takes to admit doing that, it doesn't make birders look like a stable lot, does it?
Now, other birders can look at this guy and say, Damn Skippy! But others, like cat owners, will be having a field day with this one. All birders are cat-hating, gun-toting maniacs, right?
Hey, you people in Cape May who said that feral cats were okay? Better hope this guy doesn't move into town.

Dang, that's a wild story, Amy!

November 14, 2007 7:36 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well, I'm fine with the removal of feral cats from sensitive species' habitats... but couldn't he have used a have-a-heart trap and brought the damn thing to a shelter instead?

November 15, 2007 8:25 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Susan: I completely agree about the bad PR for birders.

Leigh: Very good question.

November 15, 2007 9:36 AM  

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