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Pet store animals cooked in school
Fri Jan 21 2005 08:35:35 ET

A Guinea pig and rabbit purchased from a Geauga County pet store ended up on plates at a Cleveland area high school.

A 16-year-old student skinned and cooked the animals during a living skills class on Wednesday, prompting student and parent complaints to the Thompson Township Police Department and Geauga Humane Society. Officials at both agencies said they are investigating.

Friday editions of the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER detail how the incident may warrant animal cruelty charges.

Geauga Humane Officer Sarah Westman said it's illegal to needlessly kill "companion animals" raised for domestic purposes.

"Something irrational and wrong happened," Westman explained.

Ledgemont Principal Beto Gage acknowledged that "misjudgments" took place but said the boy's actions are far from criminal.

The student - whose name was not released - described what he did in terms of harvesting meat to fix a dish for classmates, Gage said.

The principal described the boy as an active hunter. The Ledgemont district covers the rural communities of Montville and Thompson townships, where killing - and then eating - wild game is fairly common.

The hunt, however, usually doesn't take place at Pet Supplies Plus.

The boy went to the Chardon store and purchased the Guinea pig and rabbit after coming up empty in the great outdoors.

"My skin's crawling over this," said Linda Schempp, a spokeswoman for the pet store chain. "We sell our animals to be family pets - not food."


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