State Rests Case in Animal Shelter Torture Trial

Cat had escaped holding area, somehow got trapped in the wall

By Elvira Sakmari and Ray Villeda
|  Thursday, Nov 10, 2011  |  Updated 11:24 AM CDT
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Animal Shelter Torture Trial Continues

Metroplex Animal Coalition

Tyrone McGill, the former manager of Dallas Animal Services was indicted on felony cruelty, torture for preventing a cat from being freed from inside a wall at the shelter.

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Text from Wednesday, see latest updates from the courtroom at the bottom of the page:
Testimony in the trial of a man accused of leaving a cat to die inside a wall at the Dallas Animal Services shelter continued Wednesday in Dallas.

Shelter manager Tyrone McGill, 61, is charged with felony cruelty after a cat died inside a wall at the shelter after it somehow got trapped.

The state rested its case Wednesday. The defense called several witnesses -- past and current employees of Dallas Animal Services. Many testified to helping McGill try to get the cat out.

Later on in the afternoon, McGill himself took the stand.

He said he took over the DAS when it was in disarray both the building and infrastructure of the shelter and tried to turn it around.

He said on May 3, 2010, he got word of the cat stuck in the wall.

It was one of many situations where animals were stuck in the wall or ceiling.

He said he asked about setting a trap, "I also went around and talked to people, have you seen heard of this cat? Some said yes, some said no, some didn't know what I was talking about."

McGill said he never heard the cat in the wall, just reports of it.

He told the jury he came in on a day off -- Saturday -- to look for the cat and didn't find it. The following Monday, an animal keeper told him that a cat had fallen from the ceiling. He testified that he thought it was the same cat and thought it was free.

When asked why he didn't cut a hole in the wall, he told the jury he didn't want to endanger employees because he didn't know what was behind the wall.

He estimated the hole itself probably cost the city $5.

When cross-examined by the state, he told prosecutors he never lost sight of his job.

"I love animals and people," he said.

Thursday, the jury is expected to have the charges read and then they will deliberate.

If convicted, he could face anywhere from probation to two years in state jail.

If McGill is convicted, he could face anywhere from probation to two years in state jail.

NBC 5's Ray Villeda is tweeting live from the courtroom. You can follow @RayVilleda on Twitter.

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