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Man faces felony charge in cat's death

A town of Oak Grove man was charged last week with a felony in connection with the death of his neighbor's cat.

An initial appearance for Gregory F. Kerr, 53, N6053 County Road E, River Falls, on a charge of mistreatment of an animal/causing death is set for 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 5, in Pierce County Court.

Kerr could not be reached by phone early the afternoon of Nov. 15.

He's accused of fatally shooting Tuffy, a cat belonging to Rhonda Klink. On May 11 she reported to police that she had found the cat dead on her property the previous day.

Kerr served one term on the Pierce County Board from 2004 to 2006. During that time he was a member of the county's Law Enforcement Committee.

According to the complaint, Klink said she took the cat's body to her veterinarian who determined the animal died as a result of being hit with about 30 pellets of bird shot.

Klink told the investigating officer that as she was preparing to move into the property in October 2010 she spoke with Kerr, whose house is about 100 yards from hers.

She said he told her he didn't like cats or other animals around his property.

Klink said she told Kerr she had a cat and described it to him.

After the cat's death, the deputy talked to Kerr in his garage. The deputy asked Kerr if he had shot any cats.

According to the complaint, Kerr said there had been a cat under his bird feeder around dark a few days earlier and he shot a .410 shotgun over, but not at, the cat to scare it away.

"Mr. Kerr informed me he has a problem with animals and feral cats on his property and was trying to protect his property and the birds as he finds feathers all the time in his yard after there have been cats (there) and he believes the cats have been killing the birds and pheasants," reported Deputy Jeremy Brookshaw.

Kerr also told the deputy that cats had urinated on his house door and on his four-wheeler seat.

In June Klink told another investigator that Tuffy stayed indoors most of the time, but she did let the cat out to enjoy the outdoors.

Kerr told the second deputy that he had had nothing to do with Klink's cat and believed the animal he fired over was a raccoon.

The maximum penalty on the mistreatment-of-animals charge is 3 1/2 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.