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Alleged Vermont Cat-Killer Pleads Not Guilty

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READSBORO, Vt. — Accused cat-killer Michael Choquette pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated animal cruelty Monday in Vermont District Court in Benningon, according to WCAX.

Choquette, 51, was arrested last week after his tenant reported to police he had killed her 4-year-old cat and dumped it into the outdoor wood furnace. Choquette told police it was an accident and he was trying to hide the body from the cat's owner, Kelly Gancarz.

State police discovered the animal's remains and charged Choquette with felony aggravated animal cruelty. During the investigation they learned of a similar incident with a former tenant's pet.

Police said Amanda Strange told them that her 4-year-old Siamese cat Mischief had been poisoned approximately a year earlier. The cat was allegedly fed rat poison inside Choquette's garage; it was taken to a local animal hospital, where it died from poisoning.

This new felony charge was added to the previous charge of killing Kelly Gancarz's cat on March 11.

Aggravated animal cruelty is when the perpetrator "intentionally kills an animal by means causing the animal undue pain or suffering," according to Vermont law.

Choquette could face up to six years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000.
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