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Nelson County man facing charges for suffocating cat with ether

Cat that was suffocated (WSET)

NELSON Co., Va. (WSET) -- A Nelson County man is charged with suffocating a woman's pet cat to death with ether.

Patricia Harker got the phone call on March 8. "He said, 'Well, this is Animal Control, and I have some bad news for you," said Harker whose cat was killed. "And he said, 'Swiper is dead.' And I said 'Did she get hit by a car?'"

Harker says she was told her rare African Savannah cat, Swiper was harassing chickens in this coup on Front Street in Nelson County.

She says the officer had given the chicken coup owner two options.

"If the cat was endangering the chickens' lives, that he could shoot the cat or he could trap the cat and just call animal control," said Harker. "When they trap the cat, animal control would come and take the cat and try to find the cat's owner."

Instead, David Boor is accused of capturing the cat in a plastic bag filled with ether which is an extremely flammable chemical and was one of the first anesthetics used in surgery.

A necropsy performed by the state confirmed that Swiper died of "Asphyxiation due to ether or an ether-like substance" inhalation.

Commonwealth's Attorney Daniel Rutherford declined to file charges; but a local magistrate issued these arrest warrants charging Boor with two misdemeanors.

Boor's attorney Peter Frazier says evidence he will present in court will help clear his client's name. "Mr. Boor has done absolutely nothing wrong. Period," said Frazier. "He's a well-respected member of the community. He works here at the funeral home. He and his co-workers have helped so many families."

It's an unfortunate situation all the way around. "This is just wrong at every level. She was collared. She was micro-chipped," said Harker. "She wasn't a threat to anybody."

A Commonwealth's attorney not involved in the case says victims can consult a magistrate in the event charges are not immediately filed.

This often results in misdemeanors instead of felony charges. Boor's court hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday morning.

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