Ethan Phillip Weibman who plead guilty last fall to animal abuse in the death of one cat and the beating of another was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in prison.
After District Judge Charles A. Chiapparelli’s ruling, officers immediately took the 20-year-old, a short-time Baltimore resident originally from a wealthy hamlet in Westchester County, N.Y., into custody, as his mother shrieked in protest.
“It’s not just a crime, it’s a person I’m sentencing,” Chiapparelli said. “And even on his best day, [Weibman is] an arrogant, selfish, no-goodnik who doesn’t care about anyone else but himself.”
In addition to the jail time, Weibman was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, court costs and to serve three years probation during which time he was to have no contact with animals.
The two counts of animal mutilation and another related charge stem from incidents last year.
The first occurred March 20. According to police charging documents, Weibman adopted a short-haired cat named Lucy from the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Two days later, Weibman and his girlfriend returned to the shelter with the dead cat and wanted to adopt another.
Police said Weibman and his girlfriend told SPCA staff they didn't know how Lucy died.
The SPCA wouldn't allow the adoption until staff members could determine how the cat died. When the SPCA called Weibman to tell him about the cause of death - a traumatic blast wound to the chest - according to court documents, Weibman told shelter officials that he owned a pellet gun and was shooting it in the living room, but that the cat was in the kitchen at the time.
Police said they then learned that Weibman had adopted another short-haired cat named Lola from a PetSmart store in Glen Burnie on April 5. Hours after the adoption, Weibman and his girlfriend brought the cat to DocSide Veterinary Center in Fells Point.
The cat was suffering from injuries caused, police say, by blunt-force trauma. Officers wrote that her teeth were broken, she was bleeding from the nose and suffering from cuts, facial swelling and hemorrhaging around the eye.
Docside staff called police and animal control officers, who immediately seized the cat. PetSmart officials later told police that the cat didn't have a bloody nose.
Court documents say Weibman is suspected of having killed five more cats and kittens.
At the sentencing hearing, two of psychiatrists testified that Weibman suffers from bi-polar disorder as well as anxiety, depression and panic attacks. They said he’s on a “cocktail” of six drugs to stabilize his behavior.
Weibman's attorney, Ronald Kurland and the psychiatrists argued for probation, saying that any jail time would “destroy” Weibman.
Chiapparelli disagreed, saying “he’s got to be punished.”