Originally published March 2, 2009:
A man who apparently tried to mellow out his cat by stuffing her into a homemade bong is facing criminal charges — and catcalls from animal lovers.
Lancaster County Sheriff’s deputies went to the home Acea Schomaker shares with his grandfather at 5700 Saltillo Road Sunday morning on a domestic disturbance call, said Sgt. Andy Stebbing.
Deputies resolved the dispute and left the house, but returned minutes later after discovering there was an arrest warrant on Schomaker for possession of drug paraphernalia, Stebbing said.
When they went back in, he said, the deputies said they saw Schomaker, 20, smoking marijuana through a piece of garden hose attached to a duct-taped, 6-by-12-inch plexiglass box, into which the cat had been stuffed.
“This cat was just dazed,” Stebbing said. “She was on the front seat of the cop car, wrapped in a blanket, and never moved all the way to the humane society.”
Deputies said Schomaker told them the 6-month-old kitten, named Shadow, had been hyper and he was trying to calm her down.
Shadow was taken to the Capital Humane Society, where she was in good shape on Monday, Executive Director Bob Downey said.
“What the human mind doesn’t invent, huh?” Downey said.
Schomaker did not return voice or text messages left on his cell phone by The Associated Press.
He was cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty and taken to Lancaster County Jail on the arrest warrant. He was released after paying a $400 fine.
Now he faces new charges for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia stemming from Sunday.
Stebbing said the animal cruelty charge could be raised to a felony if the cat dies or is found to have suffered injury.
Downey said tests would be done to determine whether the cat suffered lung damage.
“To the eye, the cat looks OK,” he said. “It cowers in the back of its cage like it’s a little bit afraid but, obviously, given the way it’s been treated, that’s not surprising to me at all.”