August 9, 2020

Mississippi man gets fine, probation for decapitating kitten outside humane shelter

A Natchez man was found guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals Tuesday in Adams County Justice Court after he admitted to decapitating a kitten outside of the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society in May.

Justice Court records stated John Sean Swoveland, 54, had been sentenced to pay a fine of $354.75 and received six months probation for the incident.

Adams County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, Lt. Cal Green said a Humane Society employee had filed a report after finding the body of a kitten that had been decapitated near the entrance to the Humane Society.

Green said investigators later reviewed video surveillance of Swoveland driving up to the Humane Society, exiting his vehicle and apparently reading the sign on the door before returning to his vehicle and then pulling it to the side of the driveway.

Swoveland then exited his vehicle again and retrieved something inside and started swinging at something on the ground next to his vehicle.

Humane Society employees said they later examined the ground where they saw Swoveland and found the kitten’s body without its head.

Municipal Court Judge Anthony Heidelberg — who was temporarily filling the seat of Justice Court Judge Eileen Maher on Tuesday — said Swoveland testified that the kitten was sick when he killed it.

Heidelberg said based on Swoveland’s testimony and the testimony of Humane Society employees the court found that Swoveland did not act with malice when killing the animal. Therefore, Swoveland received the maximum sentence for a lesser charge — including a fine of $354.75 with six months probation.

“If he commits any other crime with the exception of minor traffic violations within six months, he would automatically receive 30 days in prison,” Heidelberg said.

Heidelberg said the court also intended for Swoveland to work community service hours at the Humane Society. However, Heidelberg said the shelter would not let Swoveland work there so Swoveland’s employer agreed to post a voluntary donation of $1,000 to the Humane Society in lieu of community service.