- Cullman, Alabama

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September 20, 2013

Hanceville man arrested for animal cruelty

— A Hanceville man was arrested on an animal cruelty charge at the Cullman County Animal Shelter after throwing a caged cat at a receptionist’s countertop, where it tumbled to the floor and rolled in front of witnesses on Tuesday morning.

Thomas Alan Oligney, 69, of Hanceville, was arrested for disorderly conduct and animal cruelty after an animal control officer, multiple employees, and a security camera captured the plastic caged cat carrier with the animal inside, being thrown toward the receptionist, missing the countertop, smacking the ground and continuing to flip until it landed right-side-up near the feet of the officer. Assistant Police Chief Craig Green said patrol officer Adam Walker responded to the call at the shelter.

“Officer Bingham called for assistance from patrol after the incident happened,” Walker said. “Mr. Oligney came to turn over the animal and the shelter’s policy was to come back in and fill out the proper paperwork. He became distraught and said, “I will just kill the cat myself,” and then threw it at the counter where it fell off and rolled on the floor.”

Walker said the cat didn’t sustain any major injuries, and since then, the shelter has named the cat Sophia. Oligney was taken to the Cullman County Detention Center and his bond is currently unavailable.

The Alabama Code, Section 13A-11-14 defines animal cruelty as:  

“The act of cruelty to animals, particularly domesticated dogs and cats, is defined as: “Overloads, overdrives, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, injures, mutilates or causes the same to be done; intentionally tortures any dog or cat or skins a domestic dog or cat or offers for sale or exchange or offers to buy to exchange the fur, hide, or pelt of a domestic dog or cat.” Cruelty to a dog or cat is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment up to 6 months. Intentionally torturing a dog or cat is a Class C Felony punishable with a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment up to 10 years. Persons convicted could also be made to pay for the cost of care of the animal. Exceptions are made for research, protection of life or property, training, or shooting a dog or cat for urinating or defecating on property. Animals can also be seized by animal control officers.”

Lauren Estes can be reached at or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.

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