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Did O.C. deputies taser a cat to death?

April 15, 2008 | 12:36 pm

The Orange County Sheriff's Department has been under fire recently for its treatment of jail inmates, including the death this month of a man who was Tasered in his Santa Ana jail cell.

But there is a new alleged victim: a cat.

The department is investigating a report that deputies used a Taser electric stun weapon on a cat at Theo Lacy jail, a department spokesman said today. A cat’s corpse was later found on the jail grounds in Orange.

The investigation comes one week after the release of grand jury transcripts that showed Theo Lacy deputies allowed inmates to discipline each other while guards watched television, played video games and exchanged cellphone text messages.

Sheriff’s officials were conducting a necropsy today to determine whether the dead cat was shocked with a Taser, said sheriff’s spokesman John McDonald. An unidentified person told sheriff’s officials that deputies used the Taser on the cat "a couple of weeks ago," McDonald said.

"We’ll know more this afternoon, after the necropsy is completed. This cat may not have had anything to do with the report," McDonald said. "This isn’t being taken lightly. This is a pretty serious matter."

-- Stuart Pfeifer

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