Lewis The Cat Spared Death Sentence

The case of Lewis the cat, who stands accused of attacking its owner's neighbors, was heard in a Connecticut court on Tuesday, with the judge ruling that the cat's life should be spared.

Residents in a district of the town of Fairfield say they have been clawed by Lewis, claiming he has attacked at least six people, including an "Avon lady" selling cosmetics door to door.

The judge granted his owner, Ruth Cisero, a special probation program to last two years and ordered her to perform 50 hours of community service. This will prevent Lewis from having to be declawed. If Ruth "stays out of trouble" a reckless endangerment charge would be erased from her record. A further condition of her probation is that Lewis is to remain housebound. He was ordered to remain in the house 24 hours a day and leave only in a secure cat carrier.

Maureen Bachtig – a neighbor of Cisero’s who Lewis attacked in February – did not appear in court Tuesday, but conveyed through a prosecutor her wish to have Lewis declawed. Cisero’s attorney, Eugue Riccio, said that they strongly opposed declawing – calling it a painful, difficult process that can actually exacerbate a cat’s aggressiveness.

Cisero was charged in February with second-degree reckless endangerment, after Lewis slipped out the door Feb. 5 and attacked Bachtig on nearby Sunset Circle. At the time of his escape from Cisero’s home, Lewis was under a restraining order in connection with the strafing of another neighbor in December. That order permitted him to go out briefly at specified times of the day. At the point he attacked Bachtig, he was minutes away from a permissible outing time. But that incident was the last scratch.

Cisero was charged in connection with the Bachtig incident. She applied for accelerated rehabilitation, a special form of probation that would allow her to avoid criminal prosecution, but Bachtig said she would agree only if Lewis was euthanized or declawed. Cisero withdrew her application.

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