Had Gary Korkuc not been pulled over by cops with good hearing on Sunday night, the meowing cat in his trunk might have wound up fried with the peppers and onions it was marinating in. But would that have been legal? Maybe in Missouri, writes Brian Palmer for Slate. Only a few state specifically outlaw pets as food. In New York, where Korkuc lives, people are not permitted to "slaughter or butcher" domesticated cats and dogs, but whether you can sup on them (or turn a hamster into dinner) is not explicitly stated.
California is more specific, barring the possession of a carcass, meaning you can't legally buy a filet of dog. But other states, like Missouri, have nothing on the books, so unless the pet is killed in an exceptionally cruel way, the eater is probably safe, notes Palmer. But as the saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat: Korkuc could have been busted in any number of ways. In New York, you can't keep an animal in a car without proper ventilation, and dousing a cat in chili-infused oil likely violates the state's general cruelty law.