Bonehead of the Day: Jogger Ties Cat to a Rock, Is Astounded By Animal Abuse Charges
I've heard about a cat that literally demands to go on long-distance runs with his caretaker, but when I heard about a person who tied up his cat and left her while he went for a lakeside jog -- well, let's just say I was less than impressed.
Some passing joggers heard a bunch of crows and when they looked for the source of the commotion, they noticed Stella, a brown tabby, tethered to a rock underneath a tree. According to police radio traffic, the passersby said the cat was being attacked by birds.
But this morning, it sounds like there's another side to the story. It's not a case of heinous abuse and abandonment, says Seth Franco, the 19-year-old high school senior who was the jogger in question.
Six months ago, Franco adopted her when he found her abandoned and tied up to a tree behind his high school.
"I'm more of a dog person, but this cat is so cool that I just took her in and take care of her," Franco said. "I love her."
And apparently Stella is a pretty doglike cat. According to Franco, she likes going with him for walks and jogs.
The weather was so warm and beautiful this Wednesday that he wanted Stella to enjoy it, so he decided to take her with him when he went for a jog around Waneka Lake Park in Lafayette, Colorado.
But the weather was a little too warm for the cat. About halfway around the lake trail, she started panting heavily. Franco wanted to continue his run, he said, but he knew Stella wouldn't be able to go on. He tied her to a rock underneath a tree and started jogging again. He thought he was doing right by his pet, he said in an interview with a 9News TV reporter.
When he came back to retrieve Stella, the people who had kept the crows at bay yelled at him and accused him of abusing her.
Lafayette animal control officers were on the scene, too. Because Stella hadn't been hurt, they let Franco take her home.
Although he says he never meant any harm to his cat, he hopes other people learn from his mistake. He had no idea that tethering an animal is against Lafayette city ordinance, but ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.
"They kind of just told me it was common sense to not tie an animal up," Franco said.
He'll be in court in May to defend himself against a charge of animal cruelty.
Watch the 9News video here.