Arraignment Today / Reporter Also Charged
BRANSTON, MO - In the wake of a surprising string of events surrounding the re-entry of an American spy satellite, a Missouri man, Mr. Eldon Thurmond, has been charged with animal cruelty by local officials.
Thurmond, a neighbor of Mrs. Esther Hensley, whose cat Sniffles was struck and buried by the 7-ton satellite while scratching in a sandbox, faces multiple criminal charges after authorities found he had been maintaining a highly charged electronic fence around his property to ward off Mrs. Hensley's 117 cats.
“'Scare tactic,' my ass. He had 50,000 volts running through that thing,” said Deputy County Sheriff, Thomas Pierson. “Several of the personnel involved in the satellite investigation and cat round up received substantial burns and electrical shocking from the fencing, and requested hospitalization.”
“Do you mean, ‘required hospitalization’? a reporter suggested.
“Well, that, too,” said Pierson, “but they specifically asked, ‘Can you take me to the hospital?’”
Lawyers for Mr. Thurmond claim their client has every right to defend his property, while city attorneys seek to enforce a local ordinance stating homeowners cannot possess a public hazard, or harbor anything that constitutes a danger to the public. The Thurmonds were removed from their home and placed in custody.
Mr. Thurmond was incensed at his arrest, claiming, “If you were the one stepping in cat shit every time you turned around, you’d do something, too. I’m an electrician. It’s the only thing I could come up with.”
“Let’s use some common sense here,” said Mayor James Hardly. “First a cat gets hit from space, out of the blue, then Mrs. Hensley gets evicted, then we had that cat chase fiasco with all those people going to the hospital that made us the laughingstock of Missouri, and now this. I say it’s (this story has) gone too far.”
In a related development, police responded to a call from the town’s newspaper, the Branston Dispatch, after a reporter covering the story attacked her editor with a large meat cleaver. The reporter, whose name is being withheld, was subdued by law enforcement officers and taken into custody.
The editor, Preston Sargent, was treated for cuts to his forearms and face, and released.