Hunter charged in cat death

A man was arrested and charged with killing a cat while deer hunting near Shannon Hill and East Old Mountain roads.

Greg Badgett, 43, of Midlothian, faces one count of cruelty to animals, a felony. He was arrested on Dec. 17, just over a week after the incident was reported to the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Unit.

The suspect’s hunting dogs were found by a woman on her property on Dec. 5, according to a criminal complaint filed in Louisa General District Court by Alyssa Ellison, animal control chief. The woman called the phone number on their collars to ask the hunter to retrieve them.

Ellison wrote in the complaint that when Badgett and some other hunters arrived, the woman’s boyfriend asked how the hunt was going.  

“Badgett replied that he had missed some does but did get some Chinese food,” Ellison wrote, quoting the woman, “and proceeded to show [the woman’s] boyfriend a photo on his phone of himself posing with a deceased cat.”

The boyfriend said that the cat belonged to him and the woman, who told Badgett to bring her the cat’s body so she could bury it. He complied.

During the investigation, Ellison retrieved the cat from where it was buried in the woman’s flower bed and sent it to a state lab for a necropsy. The lab confirmed that the cat died from a gunshot wound that severed its cervical spinal cord.

Ellison said she was able to identify Badgett because a dispatcher in the county’s 911 center recognized his photo from high school.  

The state code provision under which Badgett was charged says that he could be charged with a felony even if the cat had not died but suffered serious bodily injury. The Virginia General Assembly amended the code in 2019 to upgrade that crime from a misdemeanor.

Badgett was released on cash bond and ordered to appear for a hearing in district court on Jan. 5.

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