Posted by Terry Alexander
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A man who tried to mellow out his cat by stuffing her into a homemade bong is facing criminal charges and catcalls from animal lovers.
Lincoln-area authorities cited 20-year-old Acea Schomaker on suspicion of animal cruelty Sunday after catching him smoking marijuana from a contraption that had a cat stuffed inside its 12-inch by 6-inch base.
Schomaker told Lancaster County sheriff's deputies the 6-month-old female named Shadow had been hyper and that he was trying to calm her.
The cat was taken to the Capital Humane Society, where she appeared to be in good condition 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.
Deputies discovered the cat trapped in the device after responding to a domestic disturbance call at a residence that Schomaker shares with his grandfather, Sgt. Andy Stebbing said.
Deputies resolved the dispute and left the house, but they returned minutes later after discovering there was an arrest warrant on Schomaker that alleged possession of drug paraphernalia.
Upon re-entering the house, Stebbing said, deputies saw Schomaker smoking marijuana through a piece of garden hose attached to the duct-taped, plastic glass box, in 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."
Schomaker was cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty and taken to the Lancaster County Jail on the arrest warrant. He was released after paying a $400 fine.
Now Schomaker faces new charges for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia stemming from Sunday's incident.
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."