Lewis the cat gets home detention
Judge spares accused serial-scratcher, owner on probation
Tuesday, June 20, 2006; Posted: 1:43 p.m. EDT (17:43 GMT)
Ruth Cisero holds her cat, Lewis, who was sentenced to the feline version of home detention.
BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut (AP) -- A Connecticut judge on Tuesday spared the life of alleged serial-scratcher Lewis the cat, whom even Prozac could not tame, but ordered that the felonious feline remain inside his owner's home at all times.
"There are no exceptions. None," said Judge Patrick Carroll, who also granted accelerated rehabilitation to Lewis' owner, Ruth Cisero of Fairfield, Connecticut.
That means her record will be expunged if she successfully completes two years of probation.
Cisero had faced a charge of reckless endangerment. Neighbors complained that the cat's long claws and stealth have allowed it to attack at least a half-dozen people and ambush the Avon cosmetics lady as she got out of her car on her neighborhood rounds.
Cisero had rejected a previous offer of accelerated rehabilitation if she agreed to euthanize Lewis.
Carroll said Lewis cannot leave the house, even if he gets out accidentally. He said the case is not about a cat, but about people having the right to live in safety in their neighborhoods.
Janet Kettman, one of Lewis" victims, has previous said she and her neighbors on Sunset Circle are always looking over their shoulders in fear the stalker will strike again.
"He attacks from the back," Kettman said. "You never see it coming. He has six toes on every foot, which constitutes a very formidable weapon."
"He will not retreat," Kettman said. "His mouth is open and his tail is swishing."
"Also, he gives out mixed signals," Kettman continued. "He would sidle against you and purr. You bend down to pet him and he'd attack you."
The case drew national attention. Lewis has appeared in People magazine and his own page on the social networking site MySpace.com.
But Cisero said Tuesday she would prefer to have never had the attention.
"I never thought it would come to this," she said. "It's been an absolute nightmare. It's ruined my life."
Lewis was put on the antidepressant Prozac, but his owner was worried and took him off it he became too sleepy.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.