Cat-Stomping Former Met Farmhand Makes Amends

Minor league ballplayer ends tabloid tale with 500 hours of volunteering

Friday, Dec 18, 2009  |  Updated 2:45 PM EDT
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Cat-Stomping Former Met Farmhand Makes Amends

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 An actor and former minor league baseball player who stomped and kicked his girlfriend's cat to death has ended the tabloid tale with 500 hours of volunteering — some of it teaching pitching, his lawyer said Friday.

Joseph Petcka's case was conditionally discharged Friday, meaning it's expected to be closed without jail time or probation once he pays court costs. Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus also let Petcka reduce his guilty plea to attempted aggravated animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.

Petcka, 39, initially pleaded guilty last year to a felony charge for killing the cat in March 2007. A jury had deadlocked after five days of deliberations.

"I am confident that there will be no further allegations about abuse of animals on your part," Obus said.

Prosecutors said the actor and former New York Mets minor leaguer attacked the 8-pound, declawed cat in a drunken, jealous rage after complaining that his then-girlfriend loved the cat more than she loved him. He said he overreacted after being bitten by the tabby, named Norman.

Since his plea last year, Petcka has completed 500 hours of community service at a soup kitchen, children's art program and youth club where he taught pitching, prosecutors and his lawyer said.

"We're just glad that it's over, and we feel that he's paid his debt," defense lawyer Charles S. Hochbaum said. Petcka declined to comment.

Petcka pitched in the Mets' minor league system in 1992. He later acted in a paper-towel commercial and had small roles in "Sex and the City" and other television shows.

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