Harris County man charged for 'mercy killing' of stray cat

January 19, 2014 12:12:26 PM PST
An east Harris County man was charged this weekend for the shooting death of a cat, but officials said he claims it was done to put the cat out of its misery.

It all started Saturday when the Harris County Sheriff's Office received a complaint about a firearms discharge on Riverside Street along the San Jacinto River in Highlands. When deputies arrived, they learned that a black cat had been fatally shot with a rifle.

Joseph D. Morgan told investigators that he found a stray cat that was reportedly sick and needed to be euthanized, so he threw the cat into the air and shot it using a shotgun loaded with bird shot.

Deputies found the cat's body near the riverbank and called the Houston SPCA, which sent an investigator for the cat's body. A necropsy is planned, officials said.

Morgan, 24, is charged with cruelty to animal/torture with firearm. Bond was set at $10,000. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

No additional details were released.

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