Boy Charged For Meowing At Neighbor Lady
Family Gave Cat Away After Neighbor's Complaints
POSTED: 2:26 pm EDT August 23, 2006
JEANNETTE, Pa. -- Meow. A Pennsylvania judge is being asked to decide whether that word is a harmless taunt or grounds for misdemeanor harassment.
Police have charged a 14-year-old boy with that crime. Michael Loughner is accused of meowing whenever he sees his 78-year-old neighbor, Alexandria Carasia.
The boy's family got rid of their cat after Carasia complained that it was using her flower garden as a litter box. Now, she said, the boy makes meowing sounds every time he sees her.
He said he's only meowed at her twice.
"I've had to put up with this for three years," Carasia said. "As I walk by, I see Michael and his mother. He got on the porch and hid behind the bamboo screen and starts meowing. If I don't make this stop now, they're going to keep doing this to me. I shouldn't have to worry about walking out of the house and being harassed by this young kid."
Loughner said that on July 23 he went out to hold his dog so it wouldn't leave the yard as Carasia walked by.
"She was walking through and she kept looking at us," he testified. "I grabbed the dog so it wouldn't leave the yard. When I put my head down, I meowed."
He said that was one of the two times he's ever meowed at the woman, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported.
"As she walked in front of the house, nothing was said," the boy's mother, Sally Loughner, told the court. "He stepped off the porch to make sure the dog didn't get out. As he reached down and got the dog, he said, 'Meow.' ... She said, 'Do you want me to call the cops again?' I said, 'Go ahead, he hasn't done anything wrong.'"
There is a history of disputes between the neighbors, according to the paper.
Sally Loughner told the court that she ended up sending her cat to live with family members so that she could "keep peace in the neighborhood."
Defense attorney David Martin Jr. asked that the case be dropped.
"This should never have been filed," Martin said. "This is not something that police should be wasting their time with or wasting the court's time."
The judge heard from both parties Tuesday. He decided to wait 90 days before ruling, saying he'll decide what to do after seeing how the boy and his neighbor get along in the meantime.