Cat Killing Was Self-Defense: Ex-Ballplayer

Mets prospect says he beat ex's tabby to death for trying to bite him
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2008 12:46 PM CDT
This undated photo provided by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shows Lisa Altobelli's orange tabby Norman, which prosecutors say was beaten to death by Joseph Petcka.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Joseph Petcka doesn’t deny he beat his girlfriend’s cat to death, but he says it was self-defense, the New York Daily News reports. The ex-Mets prospect and bit-part actor (one episode of Sex and the City) says the 7-pound tabby tried to bite him. Prosecutors say Petcka screamed, “You love that cat more than me!” before pummeling Norman in cold blood.

Petcka’s girlfriend, Sports Illustrated writer Lisa Altobelli, will take the stand tomorrow. Prosecutors spent 17 months bringing Petcka to trial, intent on charging him with aggravated cruelty to animals, a charge that could land him 2 years in prison. The case has incensed pet lovers, but others think prison is too harsh. “This kind of case is a waste of taxpayers’ money,” said one dismissed juror.