HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) - An animal cruelty charge against a Harrisonburg police officer accused of beating a cat to death has been dismissed.
Media outlets report that a special prosecutor dismissed the misdemeanor charge Monday on appeal.
Jonathan Snoddy was charged in January after a resident told investigators that the officer beat the cat with a baton. The resident said he took the cat home on Nov. 11, 2011, after a car hit the animal and called Harrisonburg authorities.
Snoddy was convicted of animal cruelty in March following a bench trial. He appealed the conviction.
Page County Commonwealth's Attorney Ken Alger said Monday that the incident was more a case of misinformation and sensationalism instead of a crime.
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Statement by Chief of Police Stephen Monticelli
July 30, 2012
The following statement was issued today by Chief of Police Stephen Monticelli:
I am pleased that the case involving Officer Jonathan Snoddy has been resolved by the courts. I understand that this has been a painful issue for all of us, both people in the community and within our own department. It also has been a significant learning experience. And while it is closed in the courts, I want everyone to know that the Harrisonburg Police Department has been-and will continue-working to improve how we deal with matters of this nature.
I want to report to the community what we are doing to address issues that came to light. Please keep in mind that the type of situation that Officer Snoddy faced occurs very rarely, so none of our patrol officers has a wealth of experience to fall back on. So we have focused our
efforts in recent months on three areas: