By Jill Rosen, The Baltimore Sun
5:39 PM EDT, October 28, 2011
Ethan Phillip Weibman pleaded guilty Friday morning to animal abuse in the death of one cat and the beating of another.
The 20-year-old, a short-time Baltimore resident who has returned to his hometown in Westchester County, N.Y., pleaded guilty to two counts of animal mutilation and another related charge stemming from incidents earlier this 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.
Weibman's attorney, Ronald Kurland, told District Judge Charles A. Chiapparelli that his client is seeing a psychiatrist three times a week in Mount Kisco, N.Y., where he lives with his parents.
Chiapparelli ordered Weibman to avoid having any contact with animals, saying his parents would have to get rid of the family dog.
"Somebody has to go," the judge said. "Him or the dog."
Chiapparelli tentatively set Weibman's sentencing for Feb. 1. He could receive up to three years in prison.
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