The Richmond Register

March 15, 2013

Animal cruelty trial delayed after judge recuses himself


Register staff report

RICHMOND — Gary L. Foster Jr., 33, was scheduled to stand trial Friday on a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge, but the proceeding was cancelled after Madison District Judge Earl-Ray Neal, who was to preside, recused himself Wednesday.

The case will be assigned to another judge and rescheduled, according to information provided by the District Court Clerk’s office.

Court records did not contain an explanation for the judge’s recusal, and Neal said he could not comment.

Foster was charged Aug. 17 after sheriff’s deputies say he struck a 3-month-old kitten with a golf club four days earlier, breaking both its front legs.

Foster was referred to a Madison County grand jury by district court on a felony charge, but the case was sent back as second-degree animal cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of 90 days to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500.

Animal lovers both locally and beyond took up the kitten’s cause and named him Lucky. Rocky Alan Alexander, who found the injured kitten, created a Facebook page and posted updates about its progress and the status of Foster’s criminal case.

Lucky was treated at Barnes Mill Animal Hospital, and donations from well-wishers paid for the kitten’s treatment.