FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) – The criminal case has been dropped against the owner of Lewis, a cat whose possible death sentence turned the scratch-happy Fairfield feline into a national “claws celebre.”

A judge dismissed a reckless endangerment charge against Ruth Cisero on Thursday, concluding she had met terms of the special probation she was granted two years ago under a program for first-time offenders.

The black-and-white cat drew widespread attention in 2006 when Cisero opted for a trial on the criminal charge rather than euthanize or declaw the serial-scratching pet.

Animal lovers traveled to Connecticut from as far away as Utah and Florida for the case, some sporting “Save Lewis” shirts.

Cisero’s neighbors had complained that Lewis, known for his long claws and stealth, terrorized the area by ambushing at least a half-dozen people, including an Avon lady. Even doses of Prozac didn’t help calm the now-7-year-old cat.

A lot has changed in two years, though. Lewis is now an indoor pet only allowed outside in a cat carrier, and is “doing quite well,” said Eugene Riccio, Cisero’s attorney.

“Unlike most of us, Lewis has learned to live with his limitations,” Riccio said.

Police charged Cisero with reckless endangerment after Lewis allegedly attacked neighbor Maureen Bachtig on Feb. 5, 2006. Bachtig said Thursday she was satisfied with the judge’s decision to dismiss the criminal charge against Cisero.

“As long as that cat stays inside, I believe he will no longer be a threat to the public,” she said. “I’m happy with the result. She gets to keep her cat and the neighborhood is safe.”

Cisero’s probation included community service and a restraining order to keep Lewis inside.

Had the cat been allowed outside, however, Cisero could have faced up to six months in prison and Lewis could again have faced the possibility of euthanasia.

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