Man guilty of misdemeanor in shooting of ex-wife's cats
Steven F. Wehler, 58, whose last address is listed as an Afton post office box, was found guilty and fined $200 and court costs after appearing in Rock County Court.
Wehler admitted to the charge in a plea agreement. He had faced a felony charge of mistreatment of animals, which carries a maximum three years and six months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Wehler declined to speak before his sentencing. He told Judge James Daley he understood his rights and the charge against him.
According to the criminal complaint:
Wehler's ex-wife, Laury, filed for divorce in January 2009. The two remained living together until June 2009.
She told a sheriff's deputy she wanted the cats in the divorce settlement.
Laury went to Missouri in mid-June 2009 to stay with a friend. 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, who told the deputy he was tired of the cats keeping him awake. He said he was unable to keep up with bills.
"One cat would sit on the porch on a chair and whine continually, wanting in the house," Steven told a sheriff's deputy. "The second cat would sit on the porch roof and scratch the window screen, trying to get into the home."
Laury didn't report the killings until March 20. She told the deputy she was afraid to report the incident.
The couple's divorce was final in December 2009.