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Va. man convicted of stomping opossum

Oct. 20, 2009 at 7:36 PM

VERNON HILL, Va., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- A Virginia man was convicted of animal cruelty for chasing down and stomping an opossum to death.

Evan Bryce Schuler, 23, of Vernon Hill, was riding along with Danville police to try to determine if he'd like to become an officer in June when he got out of a stopped patrol car and chased the animal, the Danville News reported.

Schuler ran after the opossum along a fence, Officer M.A. Gibbs testified Monday.

"He grabbed a hold of the links of the fence and just started stomping" the animal, Gibbs said.

When he returned to Officer J.R. McBride's patrol car, Schuler said he should not have killed the opossum, McBride said.

Schuler plans to appeal.

His lawyer, James Priest, said Schuler grew up on a farm, where opossums killed many of his chickens and that Schuler reacted on instinct.

"Hopefully, what differentiates us (as human beings) is that we don't just act on

instinct," said Robert Adams Jr., senior assistant Commonwealth attorney.

Adams added that Schuler's former farm life might influence his behavior, but does not excuse it.

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