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Police charge Madawaska man with animal cruelty

FORT KENT, Maine — A Madawaska man is facing a charge of cruelty to animals for allegedly leaving two cats outside the PAWS Valley Cat Haven feline shelter on Rye Street off the Frenchville Road in Fort Kent on Monday, Aug. 7.

An individual can be found guilty of animal cruelty if found to have knowingly or recklessly abandoned an animal.

Officer Michael DeLena of the Fort Kent Police Department investigated after PAWS volunteer Garry Bouchard reported that someone left the animals on the shelter’s doorstep.

Volunteer Garry Bouchard holds Sampson, a neutered male Himalayan cat who is seeking a new home after a Madawaska man allegedly abandoned him outside the PAWS Valley Cat Haven shelter in Fort Kent. Police have charged the man with cruelty to animals.
(Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

Fort Kent Police Chief Tom Pelletier would not say how police located 31-year-old Andrew Zetterman of Madawaska, but said DeLena charged him with the crime.

The cats were left loose, not in a box or carrier, shortly after noon, a time when no PAWS personnel were present. One of the cats wandered away from the premises before PAWS volunteers arrived later that evening. The other, a blue-eyed Himalayan cat named Sampson, is living at the shelter and looking for a new home. Sampson is 8 years old and neutered.

“This guy is about as gentle as we’ve had. He is very laid back and seems to adore attention,” Bouchard said of Sampson.

PAWS volunteers continue to search for the other cat. Bouchard said the missing cat is mostly grey with a white stomach and paws. He described the cat as having medium length hair. Anyone with information about the missing cat or interested in adopting Sampson should contact PAWS at (207)543-7348.

“We have searched as best we can within a two-mile radius. At this point, our biggest hope is that somebody has taken (the cat) in,” Bouchard said.

“People seem to have this weird idea that if you drop off an animal at our shelter it’s not abandonment, that you’re doing the right thing, but in a very real sense we’re a shelter in the middle of nowhere,” Bouchard said. “You’re not leaving them in the care of anybody; you’re leaving them next to a building. It doesn’t matter that the building says ‘Cat Haven’ on it.”

Fort Kent Police Chief Tom Pelletier said that if the missing cat dies as a result of being abandoned, Zetterman could face a felony charge. He stressed that the department takes animal abandonment seriously.

“There are opportunities for them to turn them over to an animal shelter,” he said. “Just dropping them off is a crime and you will be charged.”

Zetterman will appear at Fort Kent District Court on Monday, Oct. 2.

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