Former University of Akron student gets probation for killing roommate’s cat

December 5, 2017 GMT

Former University of Akron student gets probation for killing roommate’s cat

AKRON, Ohio -- An Akron man was sentenced to two years of probation for killing his roommate’s cat on Valentine’s Day.

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Amy Corrigall Jones handed down the sentence against Matthew McCullough Tuesday afternoon during the county’s first case under Goddard’s Law.

Jones suspended a 9-month prison term during the hearing, Jones’ bailiff, Tamara Keefer said.

McCullough was ordered to not have any pets or have any contact with pets during his probation, Keefer said. He also can not have any contact with his former roommate.

The 21-year-old pleaded no contest in October and the judge found him guilty of prohibitions concerning companion animals, a fifth degree felony.

A person who is convicted of a fifth degree felony faces up to six to 12 months in jail. But because McCullough does not have prior felony convictions, state law prohibits him from getting jail time, Summit County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman James Pollack previously said.

McCullough’s attorney Reid Yoder argued that his client suffered from a mental illness, including when he killed his roommate’s cat. He requested that the judge allow McCullough to enter a diversion program, but was denied.

McCullough is the first in Summit County to be charged with the felony offense. He was indicted in March under Ohio’s Goddard’s Law.

The law is named after Cleveland weatherman and animal rights activist Dick Goddard, according to the prosecutor’s office.

McCullough killed the cat when he threw it against the wall of the apartment he shared with his former roommate on Carroll Street, prosecutors say. He got upset when the cat urinated on him.

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