Bastrop pastor Rick Bartlett was sentenced Monday to a year of probation for a conviction of animal cruelty in connection with the death of a cat that he trapped in his neighborhood earlier this year.
County-at-law Judge Terry Flenniken gave Bartlett a six-month jail sentence, then suspended it. He also ordered Bartlett to perform 50 hours of community service. Bartlett did not comment after the sentencing.
Bartlett, 56, who was a chaplain for the Bastrop Police Department and pastor of Bastrop Christian Church at the time of his arrest, was convicted of a Class A misdemeanor on May 17. He could have received up to a year in jail and fined up to $4,000.
Bartlett trapped the cat named Moody in his neighborhood in mid-January and took it to the police department to be kenneled. When a police officer pointed out that the cat had tags identifying its owner, Bartlett insisted that he’d released the cat back into the neighborhood, according to testimony in the trial. The cat jumped out of a cage in the back of Bartlett’s truck as the pastor drove across the Loop 150 Bridge over the Colorado River. The badly injured cat was found by a passerby on the city’s Riverwalk trail, and it died that night, according to testimony. Bartlett was charged because he was the last person seen with the cat. It took a six-member jury 40 minutes to decide Bartlett was guilty.