An elderly man accused of killing three kittens has pleaded no contest to one count of cruelty to animals and was sentenced to two days in the Los Angeles County Jail.
Paul Hartz, 73, who entered the plea Tuesday in Glendale Municipal Court, also was fined $1,000. Two other cruelty-to-animal charges were dismissed in return for the no-contest plea.
"I didn't expect all this to happen when I did this," Hartz said in an interview Tuesday. "It wasn't my intention to break the law."
The case, which a courthouse official dubbed the "Kitty Caper," stems from a feud between Hartz and his neighbors in the 1300 block of Columbia Drive over pets kept by a family named Shewey. Hartz said the family's dogs and cats constantly come into his backyard.
Placed in Plastic Bag
According to police reports, Hartz found Marci Shewey's 5-week-old kittens on his property on May 6, placed them in a plastic bag and tried to drown them in a barrel. When Shewey, 17, and her brother tried to stop him, Hartz beat the kittens--still in the bag--with a brick, police said. The exact cause of death was not determined.
Hartz said he has received several harassing phone calls and letters because of the publicity surrounding the case. He defended his actions by saying that, when he was growing up on an Iowa farm, "when we had too many cats, we killed them."
Hartz, who has diabetes and high blood pressure, is scheduled to return to court Sept. 16 with a doctor's report. If he is found medically unable to go to jail, he probably will be allowed to work 200 hours of community service instead, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Suzanne Childs.