GREENBUSH (AP) -A Greenbush man faces three misdemeanor charges arising from last fall’s fatal shooting of a neighbor’s pet cat.

The charges against Richard Madden, 47, stem from an investigation by a game warden and the cat’s owner, Michael Mitchell.

On Oct. 19, the day after Mitchell and his wife heard a late-night gunshot, he found the family’s gray tabby, Dakota, buried in a shallow grave along railroad tracks that border his property. An examination of the remains confirmed that the cat had been shot with a rifle.

Mitchell said he didn’t disturb footprints he spotted in the dirt where he found Dakota. He also sought neighborhood help in finding the person who shot the cat.

Mitchell said Madden came to his house in December to inform him that he had just shot and killed a stray dog on the road in front of Mitchell’s house. It was not clear if the dog shooting led to the recent charges against Madden.

He is scheduled to appear April 17 in Bangor District Court to answer charges of cruelty to animals, shooting a firearm on or near a public way, and shooting a domestic animal, District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said.

Mitchell said his wife, Shirley Mitchell, was crying for days after Dakota was killed.

Since then, Shirley Mitchell’s daughter found her another cat, which also helped the family’s 13-year-old Shetland sheepdog, Tyler, cope with the loss.

“He’s a herder,” Mitchell said. “He’s always had a cat to help get in every evening and got depressed. He has to have a job, and his job was taking care of that cat.”

Information from: Bangor Daily News,

AP-ES-03-05-08 0853EST

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