Schenectady man convicted of felony animal cruelty after killing neighbor's cat

A 35-year-old man who claimed he was putting an injured cat out of its misery has been sentenced to jail for stomping on the animal and smashing it against a utility pole in front of its owner.

Posted: Sep 10, 2019 3:58 PM

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) - A 35-year-old man who claimed he was putting an injured cat out of its misery has been sentenced to jail for stomping on the animal and smashing it against a utility pole in front of its owner.

The Schenectady County District Attorney's Office says Donald Birch Jr. was sentenced in county court on Tuesday to a year-and-a-half in jail. He was convicted of felony animal cruelty in June for killing his neighbor's cat after it was hit by a car.

The jury rejected Birch's defense that he was simply putting the 7-pound gray tabby named Smokey out of its misery when he killed it in August 2018.

Prosecutors say a necropsy at Cornell University showed the cat's injuries from the car accident weren't bad enough to justify killing it immediately.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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