Actor Who Killed Girlfriend's Cat in West Village Accepts Misdemeanor Plea Deal
By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A "Sex and the City" actor and former minor league ballplayer who said he killed his girlfriend's cat in self defense got to walk away Friday with a misdemeanor rap.
Having completed more than 500 hours of community service over the death of a fluffy feline called Norman, Joseph Petcka was allowed to plead guilty to attempted animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.
The 6-foot-two Petcka, who was credited with a role in one episode of Sex in the City's fifth season, was originally tried on felony animal cruelty charges.
"You love that cat more than me!" Petcka allegedly screamed at his then girlfriend Lisa Altobelli on March 27, 2007 before kicking her cat to death at her West Village apartment.
But after the 205-pound Petcka claimed Norman attacked him and made him fearful of contracting rabies, a jury could not reach a verdict in the September, 2008 trial.
"The cat attacked me when my hand was dangling. My right hand was down," Petcka told an investigator from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, according to transcripts submitted in the trial.
"I had to get him off. I pushed him off. He bit my thumb and my knuckle and my ring finger."
Prosecutors told Petcka they would retry the case if he failed to enter a plea deal, the New York Post reported. Petcka did 496 hours of community service at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in Chelsea, his lawyer said. He also served 33 hours at Gifted Hands, an organization that serves disadvantaged New Yorkers with arts and crafts activities.
Petcka's attorney, Charles Hochbaum, said his client currently has "no relationship" with Altobelli.