Aug 15, 2011 11:29 PM by Matt Stafford

"Cat killer" takes plea deal, avoids jail time

It was a packed courtroom in El Paso County Monday, and most people in Division One that afternoon seemed to be on the side of 66-year-old David Leisge; who's accused of killing several cats back in March. Leisge entered a guilty plea for two charges, including felony aggravated animal cruelty. Leisge's supporters were happy he didn't get any jail time, but others in court were not as happy with the outcome.

"I decline," says Leisge. That's all Leisge had for News First 5 when we asked for his reaction after pleading guilty. His attorney says they're happy with the outcome.

"Because what he did, he did for the residents of the trailer park," says Rick Levinson, Leisge's attorney.

Levinson was hired to defend Leisge by management at the La Cresta Estates Mobile Home Park, after he was charged with killing several cats in March.

Leisge did speak to News first 5 back then.

"I'm kind of in between a rock and a hard place in that the residents have a perfectly good reason to complain to the park," Leisge said back in March. They called the abundance of strays a health hazard.

One of the cats Leisge ended up killing belonged to Janice Whittington, and she spoke out against him Monday in court.

"Well I just, you know, had to stand up for what happened to us," says Whittington.

She told the court how tough the loss of her cat, "Fluffy", has been on her family, and she's not happy with the sentence.

"At least Dave's (Leisge's) been inconvenienced, but he hasn't been called up to the law I don't think," says Whittington.

However, Leisge had several people with him in court that were happy with the decision, and thankful for the work he's done getting rid of stray cats. A few spoke out to the court as well.

But Whittington says what Leisge did is no way to handle it; especially with local programs from the humane society. After this situation with Leisge -- and what Whittington's saying has been harassment from her neighbors -- her family is planning to move next month.

As for Leisge; as long as he doesn't get in anymore trouble through his probation, he won't have to spend any time in jail.

Leisge said a few words in court; saying a human life was more valuable than a cat's, and that he was just doing what he was told. He also answered some questions from the judge; including saying he understood that he committed the crimes.


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