A finicky feline refused to go jogging with its owner, police say. Now a Colorado teenager faces an animal-cruelty charge for tying the cat's leash to a rock.
Seth Franco, 19, a senior at Boulder High School, decided to go for a jog March 14, when the temperature soared past 70 degrees, Denver's KUSA-TV reports. Franco thought his cat Stella would enjoy jogging with him in the unseasonably warm weather.
"She ran about 45% of the way, and then it was so hot she started panting real bad," Franco told KUSA. So he tied Stella's leash to a rock under a nice, shady tree, and continued his jog around a lake.
It wasn't the first time Stella the cat was tethered outdoors. Seth Franco says he found Stella tied to a tree behind his high school six months ago, with a note that said, "I need a new home." He's been caring for the feline ever since.
But last Wednesday, passersby who found Stella tied to a rock threw a hissy-fit.
A witness called police and claimed Stella was being attacked by birds. Franco says that's a doggone lie. "There were no birds going at her. There were crows crowing at her," Franco told KUSA.
As Franco returned from his loop around the lake, bystanders tried to pick a catfight. "They were yelling at me, telling me I abuse my animal. I did not," Franco said. "If anything, I just take care of it."
Police, however, ticketed Franco for violating Lafayette, Colo.'s anti-tethering ordinance. The law only allows animals to be tethered on an owner's property, Examiner.com reports.
Because Stella was not hurt, officers let Franco take the cat home. But Franco has a court date in May to answer for alleged animal cruelty, KUSA reports.
Seth Franco doesn't blame Stella for his cat-tethering ticket. "I'm more of a dog person but this cat is so cool ... I love her," Franco told KUSA.