116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A man’s tale that curiosity may have killed his cat didn’t wash with police.
They rescued the orange tabby from the chilly Cedar River and arrested the 86-year-old man on a count of animal abuse, an aggravated misdemeanor.
Police say they received a report Monday morning that a man had intentionally dumped a cat off the Third Avenue Bridge into the river. Responding city police and sheriff’s deputies saw the soaked cat trying to climb out of the water on May’s Island. They rescued the 7-year old spayed female from the river and transported her to Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control, where she was examined by a vet.
Later that afternoon, police said, a man they identified as Lloyd Wallace Baird came to the lobby of the Cedar Rapids station and asked if officers had seen his cat.
“Baird told an officer that he was driving near the river and decided that he wanted to look at the water,” a police news release stated. “Baird claimed he had the cat in a pet carrier and wanted his cat to see the river. Allegedly, when he opened the pet carrier, the cat panicked and jumped into the river.”
However, officers obtained video of the incident — they didn’t say from where. But it told a different story: “Baird is accused of leaning over the rail of the bridge, holding the carrier over the river with the door open and facing down. Baird then shook the carrier causing the cat to fall from the carrier and into the river,” the police news release said.
Charged Wednesday with animal abuse, Baird was taken to the Linn County Jail and released after waiving a first court appearance.
Police said the cat’s body temperature was 7 degrees lower than normal after being rescued from the river, but X-rays revealed no broken bones. The veterinarian expected a full recovery, police said.