A Texas woman shot her husband in the stomach to defend her pet cat, investigators say. A purr-fect defense, perhaps? Probably not under the laws of Texas -- or in any other state, for that matter.
Deputies arrested Audrey Deen Miller, 42, of Spring, Texas, after the shooting Tuesday morning, Houston's KHOU-TV reports. Her husband was treated at a hospital and released later that day.
Miller shot her husband after he allegedly threatened to shoot one of her pet cats with a pellet gun, deputies said. "The wife was just trying to protect her cat," an assistant chief constable told KHOU.
Unfortunately for Audrey Deen Miller, her chosen method of protecting her precious furball was unlawful.
But most states' laws don't allow the use of deadly force to protect property such as pets.
Texas' law, however, does allow for the use of deadly force to protect property in three specific situations:
- If deadly force is necessary to protect oneself;
- If deadly force necessary to prevent an imminent arson, burglary, or robbery; or
- If a person "reasonably believes that the ... property cannot be protected ... by any other means."
Miller's criminal defense lawyer may try to cite that law in court. But jurors could easily find that Miller had other reasonable means to protect her cat, without having to pull the trigger on her semiautomatic handgun. One important factor could be how serious and imminent her husband's threat of cat violence actually was.
If Miller is convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, she could potentially face years behind bars. The cat Miller was trying to protect was not harmed, deputies said.
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