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7/17/2013 11:17:00 PM
Animal cruelty charge dropped against Perkins man
By Patti Weaver Journal Correspondent

An animal cruelty charge has been dropped against a Perkins man who was accused of keeping his neighbors' cat trapped under a hot tub in his own back yard without food or water.

On the motion of prosecutor Debra Vincent, District Judge Phillip Corley dismissed the case against Thomas David Sneed, 52, on Friday, court records show.

The cat had been missing for three days in 100 degree heat -- when Perkins Police Officer Dewayne Hammack rescued it from under a hot tub in Sneed's back yard, according to an affidavit.

Sneed's next-door neighbor called police about 11 p.m. June 23, 2012, to report that Sneed had her daughter's cat and would not give it back, Hammack alleged in his affidavit.

The neighbor said that she and her husband could hear the cat meowing in Sneed's back yard but could not see it, the affidavit alleged.

Sneed was drinking in his back yard and refused to allow the man to look for the cat -- which Sneed denied was there, the affidavit alleged.

The Perkins police officer contacted Sneed at 11:20 p.m. and asked if he could go into his back yard to look for a cat, the affidavit said.

Sneed told the officer, "Yeah, sure, but you won't find a cat in the back yard," according to the affidavit.

The neighbor, who was standing on his side of the fence, said it sounded like the cat was under the hot tub, the affidavit said.

"I raised the cover on the hot tub, but didn't see anything. Thomas (Sneed) said, 'See, I told you the cat wasn't back here.'

"I could hear the cat meowing by the hot tub. I looked around the tub but could not see anything," the officer wrote in his affidavit.

"I asked Thomas if there was a door I could open to see under the hot tub.

"Thomas said 'I'm not going to help you find this f....... cat -- it can die for all I care,' and went back inside his house locking the back door," the officer wrote in his affidavit.

The officer let the neighbor into Sneed's back yard to call for the cat, which sounded hurt and scared, according to the affidavit.

The neighbor had his daughter call for her cat, but it would not come out, the affidavit said.

At 11:35 p.m. when the officer knocked on the back door of Sneed's house, "Thomas opened the door saying, 'What the f.... you want now," according to the affidavit.

"I advised Thomas the cat was under the hot tub. "I asked Thomas if I could take the panels off the side of the hot tub, so I could get the cat out," the officer wrote in his affidavit.

Sneed agreed that he could, but declined to give the officer a screwdriver to remove the panels, the affidavit said.

A few minutes later, the neighbor got the needed tools to take the panels off the side of the hot tub, which the officer photographed, the affidavit said.

Using a cordless drill, the officer took the screws off the panel to retrieve the cat, which came running out from under the hot tub, the affidavit said.

"I placed the panel back onto the hot tub. I looked back around the hot tub to see if there was any way the cat could have got under the hot tub.

"There were closed panels on all four sides of the hot tub. And the door on the front of the hot tub was closed with a two-foot step holding the door closed.

"The only way the cat could have got under the hot tub is if Thomas opened the door and put the cat under the tub and closed it," the officer alleged in his affidavit.

"The past three days, the outside temperature was around 100 to 102 degrees," the affidavit said.

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