George Andrew Seymour, Jr. and William Maiden

Prominent businessman shoots neighbors cat and Animal Control officer charged with impersonating a police officer

Albemarle, VA

April 24, 2006

July 7, 2006

On April 24th, George Seymour, a prominent businessman in upscale Albemarle, was arrested for shooting his neighbor’s cat.  Particularly strange was the alleged confession that, according to his own attorney, Seymour admitted that shooting Carmen the cat was an ‘impulsive’ act.

The Seymour's Bentivar home is the alleged site of Carmen's shooting.  (Photo courtesy of Jen Fariello, The Hook)

Recently, a development has added yet another twist to the story – one that could threaten the scheduled August 22nd trial for the accused cat shooter, Seymour.

In July, William Maiden, the Albemarle County Animal Control Office who handled the Carmen case and had Seymour arrested, was himself arrested for ‘impersonating a police officer.

According to Albemarle County Police Lieutenant John Teixeira, Animal Control Officers are not full police officers, and therefore do not have any authority beyond the duties of animal control enforcement.  The issue summons and swear out warrants, but cannot make a ‘custodial arrest’.

According to a press release from the Albemarle County Police, Maiden’s arrest on July 7th followed an incident unrelated to the Seymour case on I-64 West of Charlottesville. Though the incident occurred in Albemarle County, Maiden, a Waynesboro resident, is on administrative leave.

Lt. Teixeira stated that Maiden’s arrest should not affect his ability to testify in the Seymour trial.  Seymour’s attorney, Benjamin Dick, wonders whether Maiden’s arrest will affect his client’s case. He is unsure if things are going to move forward if the Animal Control Officer has been arrested.

Seymour’s court date was already postponed once.  Albemarle District Court Judge William Barkley moved the date – initially scheduled for mid-June.  Seymour charged with a class one misdemeanor for animal cruelty, faces up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine if convicted. Carmen’s owners, Klaus and Vanessa Wintersteiger, believe Seymour should have been charged with felony animal cruelty under a 2002 law that considers certain types of cruelty to companion animals such as dogs and cats, a felony on the first offense if the animal dies as a direct result.

Update May 18, 2006:

Carmen  was shot through the neck and injured so grievously that she was euthanized.  The bullet had created a nickel-sized wound as it entered the left side of the cat's neck, leaving metal fragments in her flesh and shattering bones in her right shoulder and right leg before exiting.  If Carmen even survived, she would have had her right leg amputated up to through the shoulder and fused her ribs.

George Seymour has not been charged with firing a fun in a residential neighborhood even though it is illegal to do so in Albemarle County and is punishable by a fine of $25 to $1000.  In order to be prosecuted for such a crime, a police officer has to either see or hear the shots in order to obtain a warrant.  Seymour admitted shooting Carmen "because he'd once seen her on his car". 

(Photo of Nicholas, age 9 and Isabella Wintersteiger, age 7 by Carmen's grave, Photo courtesy of Jen Fariello, The Hook)  A small pile of stones at the back of their wooded five-acre property marks the spot where Carmen is buried.

Update August 24, 2006:

  (Photo of Kathy and George Seymour, courtesy of William Walker, The Hook)  Seymour has been found guilty for malicious wounding of an animal and sentenced to 60 days in jail, 50 days suspended and fined $141.00.  During the trial (Case # GC06006083-00) Kathy Seymour testified that Seymour had once shot and killed one of his own dogs because the dog had become jealous and knocked Seymour's then pregnant wife down some stairs, so he took the dog outside and shot it.

Reference:

The Hook