Kyre West mug

Kyre West, via Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office

A 19-year-old man must spend two months in jail, perform community service, pay a fine and undergo a psychiatric evaluation after admitting Wednesday that he shot and killed a well-known Uptown street cat with a pellet gun this fall.

Kyre West received his sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated cruelty to an animal, in this case a cat named Blackie, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office said.

New Orleans police first learned about Blackie's slaying after a caller reported seeing an injured cat outside Zeus' Place animal shelter in the 4600 block of Freret Street on Oct. 4. Blackie, who Zeus' Place said was beloved, was taken to a veterinary hospital but died.

Surveillance camera footage from Zeus' Place showed Blackie being shot by someone in an older-model Chevrolet Corsica with a shattered window. Police stopped West two days later as he drove such a car in Gert Town.

West admitted he had shot Blackie with a pellet gun, authorities said. He said his weapon did not have sights and he was unsure if he would even hit the cat when he fired.

Cannizzaro's office charged West with a crime that can bring a fine of between $5,000 and $25,000 and between one and 10 years in prison.

After West pleaded guilty, Cannizzaro's office said, Criminal District Court Judge Franz Zibilich ordered him to pay the minimum fine as well as $276 in restitution to Blackie's caregiver, Zeus' Place owner Michelle Ingram. 

The judge further ordered West to spend 60 days in jail, complete 400 hours of community service, submit to a mental examination and write an apology for his conduct.

Zibilich also gave West a four-year suspended prison term, which means he could spend that much time behind bars if he violates the terms of his sentence.

In a statement, Cannizzaro said West deserved "to pay for his outrageous actions against a defenseless animal."

"We applaud the seriousness of the sentence imposed by Judge Zibilich," Cannizzaro said. "Such despicable conduct offends not only pet and animal lovers, but the sensibilities of our community as a whole." 

Ingram said she addressed West before he was given his sentence. 

"It was good to tell him how his actions directly negatively affected my life and the lives of people in our neighborhood," Ingram said. "I would like to send a special thank you to (the state) and Judge Zibilich for taking this case seriously and hopefully stopping this behavior from escalating further." 

West's attorney couldn't be reached for comment. 

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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