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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Scary Cat

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- (AP) -- A state judge on Tuesday spared the life of Lewis the cat, whose vicious attacks on neighbors landed his owner in court, but the terrorizing tomcat was ordered confined to the house at all times.

“There are no exceptions. None,” Judge Patrick Carroll told Lewis’ owner, Ruth Cisero.

If Lewis gets out, even accidentally, Cisero could face up to 6 months in prison, and Lewis’ fate would be in the hands of animal control officers.

Cisero had faced a charge of reckless endangerment because neighbors complained that the gray and white cat’s long claws and stealth had allowed it to attack at least a half-dozen people. Some who were bitten and scratched ended up seeking treatment at hospitals.

The judge ordered Cisero to complete two years of probation, after which her record will be expunged.

Cisero had fought to keep Lewis, and rejected a previous probation deal because it was contingent on euthanizing the cat.

“I never thought it would come to this,” she said. “It’s been an absolute nightmare.
It’s ruined my life.”

The cat’s case has drawn national attention, with Lewis appearing in People magazine and on his own page on MySpace.com. A Utah animal sanctuary offered to take the cat, but Eugene Riccio, Cisero’s attorney, said Lewis enjoys life in southern New England and wants to stay.

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