The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

August 5, 2011


Police

Fox Lane graduate charged with animal cruelty


By CAROLINE SHERWIN, DON HEPPNER and R.J. MARX

Police are continuing to investigate the deaths of four other cats and kittens and traumatic injuries to a fifth cat belonging to the defendant.


Ethan Phillip Weibman, a 20-year-old Baltimore man originally from Bedford Corners, was charged with animal cruelty in a possible series of incidents involving cats which he adopted from animal shelters and other sources.

Mr. Weibman, a 2009 Fox Lane graduate, was charged with inflicting unnecessary suffering and pain upon “Lola,” an American domestic short-haired cat in his custody, on about April 4 or April 5.

Mr. Weibman was also charged with inflicting animal cruelty and other counts in another incident on March 20 after discharging a B.B. gun in his apartment and allegedly killing another cat, “Lucy.”

Police say Mr. Weibman is being investigated for possible cruelty for up to five other cats.

According to Baltimore police, on April 7, police officer Travis Foreman was advised of a possible animal abuse case involving the female cat, Lucy. On April 8, Sgt. Paul Kidd and Officer Foreman met with a director of animal control for Baltimore City and employees from the Maryland SPCA in reference to the possible animal abuse.

The preliminary investigation revealed that on March 20, the defendant adopted Lucy from the Maryland SPCA. The SPCA staff members reported that the defendant, Mr. Weibman and his girlfriend, Jorden Donohue, returned Lucy to the Maryland SPCA two days later, on March 22. Lucy was deceased upon being returned to the SPCA.

Mr. Weibman and Ms. Donohue explained that they were unaware of how Lucy had died. On March 22, Mr. Weibman attempted to adopt another cat from the Maryland SPCA, but SPCA staff would not allow the adoption pending investigation into the death of Lucy.

According to police, Dr. Sarah Trembley performed a necropsy on Lucy on March 25. Dr. Trembley’s examination of Lucy revealed that the cause of death for Lucy was respiratory failure induced by trauma. Dr. Trembley observed an entry wound into Lucy’s chest and Dr. Trembley recovered a B.B. from Lucy’s chest area.

During the necropsy, police said that Dr. Trembley also observed bruising on Lucy’s head. Upon completion of the necropsy, the Maryland SPCA staff contacted Mr. Weibman and Ms. Donohue. The cause of Lucy’s death was explained to both parties. At that time, Mr. Weibman reported that he would never hurt Lucy, but he does own a BB gun that he was shooting in the apartment. Mr. Weibman stated that Lucy was sitting in the kitchen while he was shooting the B.B. gun in the apartment. Mr. Weibman further advised police that his B.B. gun is a CO2 B.B. gun and it is more powerful than most.

According to police, Lucy was reported to be an indoor cat that remained in the apartment and was only transported in a pet carrier while being transported from the SPCA and the pet store.

Details of the incident involving the other cat, Lola, were not immediately available from Baltimore police.

On April 29, police executed a search and seizure warrant at Mr. Weibman’s apartment on Calvert Street. During the execution of the search warrant, a Daisy Powerline CO2 B.B. gun, CO2 cartridges, B.B.s and numerous other items were seized from the apartment and submitted to evidence control.

On April 29, the defendant was transported to the central district to be interviewed in reference to the case. After being advised of his Miranda rights, the defendant provided a statement in which he admitted to shooting the B.B. gun inside of the apartment and then finding the cat in respiratory distress. Mr. Weibman stated that he called his girlfriend at school and then took the deceased cat back to the Maryland SPCA. Following the interview, the defendant was placed under arrest and transported to a booking facility to be charged in reference to this case.

Police are continuing to investigate the deaths of four other cats and kittens and traumatic injuries to a fifth cat belonging to the defendant.

Mr. Weibman was charged with two counts of mutilation of an animal, “did cause, procure and authorize the intentional cruel beating of an animal,” with a penalty of up to three years or $5,000. Two additional charges of animal cruelty, “did inflict unnecessary suffering or pain on a domestic short hair cat” were filed, with penalties of 90 days or more.

According to deputy communications director Shonte Drake of the Baltimore police, Mr. Weibman was released on June 1. She said that for the first incident, he was released on $500,000 bail. She said that trial would likely take place in mid-October.

Ms. Drake said that the city of Baltimore is particularly aware of crimes against animals because of recent incidents. “We had a case about two years ago when two juveniles set a pit bull on fire, the Phoenix case,” she said. “It was a hung jury; we’re retrying it.”

She said that the city had witnessed several more incidents involving cruelty to animals. “We’ve had several more incidents, we don’t know if it’s because of we’re more aware or if there are more cases,” she said.

According to Ms. Drake, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blakes recently created a task force dealing with animal cruelty. “The mayor has been very responsive to animal cruelty and formed this task force to look at these issues,” Ms. Drake said.

On Thursday morning, Ethan Weibman’s father, Mark Weibman, said that he had “absolutely no comment.”

A call to Ethan Weibman’s attorney Ronald Kurland, was not returned.

Mr. Weibman has two prior arrests in Westchester County.

In 2010, Bedford police arrested Mr. Weibman for speeding and driving while impaired. Police arrested Mr. Weibman on Wednesday, May 26, at 9:15 p.m., on Haines Road. While on patrol an officer observed Ethan Weibman crossing over the yellow line of traffic. During the interview it was suspected he was under the influence of a substance. Field sobriety tests indicated impairment and further testing by a drug recognition officer from the Westchester County Police confirmed he was impaired. He was charged with driving while ability impaired and passing in a no passing zone. He was released without bail pending an appearance in Bedford Town Court.

On July 8, 2010, at 4:20 a.m., a New York State trooper observed Ethan Weibman driving erratically on southbound I-684 in Bedford. During the interview, it was suspected that Mr. Weibman was under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. A field sobriety test indicated impairment. An investigation revealed that he was in possession of marijuana. He was charged with driving while ability impaired, driving while intoxicated and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Mr. Weibman has a scheduled return appearance in Bedford Town Court in September.



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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

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