Janesville man suspected of killing pet cats

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Ted Sullivan
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
— After his ex-wife moved out, Steven F. Wehler is accused of fatally shooting two cats she wanted in their divorce.

"One cat would sit on the porch on a chair and whine continually, wanting in the house," Wehler told a Rock County sheriff's deputy. "The second cat would sit on the porch roof and scratch the window screen, trying to get into the home."

Those are among the allegations in a criminal complaint charging, Wehler, 57, Janesville, of felony mistreatment of animals. Wehler appeared Monday in Rock County Court for an initial appearance. He was released on a signature bond.

According to the criminal complaint:

Wehler's ex-wife, Laury, had filed for divorce in January 2009. The two remained living together until June 2009.

She told a Rock County sheriff's deputy she was taking care of the cats in the couple's home. She wanted the cats in the divorce settlement.

Laury went to Missouri in mid-June 2009 to stay with a friend when the home environment started to become hostile. When Laury returned, she asked for the cats.

Her ex-husband told her he had shot the cats. She said her ex-husband admitted under oath that he killed the cats and buried them in a compost pile.

A deputy then questioned Steven Wehler, who told the deputy he was court ordered to pay $150 a week to buy food for the house. He said Laury refused to buy groceries or cat food.

He told the deputy he was tired of the cats keeping him awake. He said he was unable to keep up with bills.

Laury didn't report the killings until March 20. She told the deputy she was afraid to report the crime because of her home environment.

The couple's divorce was final in December 2009.

If convicted, Wehler faces a maximum three years and six months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

He is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 22 for a preliminary hearing.

Last updated: 3:08 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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