A magistrate on Thursday set bail at $10,000 for a Charleston man accused of killing four of his neighbors' cats last month.
Shane Andrew Byerly, 32, is charged with animal cruelty after authorities found the neighbors' cats beneath their homes. Byerly's bail was initially set at $100,000 last month.
Magistrate James Gosnell, Jr. reduced the amount Thursday but ordered the defendant to surrender his guns to his attorney, to not have any contact with the victims and to not return to the mobile home park community at 1004 Rochelle Avenue.
He also ordered a psychiatric evaluation for Byerly, who did not attend Thursday's hearing.
Gosnell told the victims that he too is a pet lover but that the previous bail amount was excessive.
“That is, in my opinion, an extremely high bond,” Gosnell said.
Gosnell noted that the bail amount he set is twice as high as the maximum fine Byerly would have to pay if convicted.
Peggy Morris, who owned three of the cats that were killed and still has a fourth cat that had to have its leg removed, said afterward that she was not happy to see the bond reduced.
Morris told Gosnell that she considered Byerly a threat to the community.
“These were my babies,” Morris said. “I bottle-fed those cats. They were everything to me.”
Byerly's attorney, Elizabeth Camputaro, told the judge that her client is a self-employed carpenter and an honors student at the American College of Building Arts.