Cats owned in violation of probation

Avatar BCR | October 25, 2007 1 View 0 Likes 0 Ratings

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A convicted puppy killer banned from having any pets but fish has been busted for consorting with two exotic cats – including a $2,000 miniature Bengali tiger.

The cats are in the custody of the ASPCA, and Oleg Zhdanov is charged with violating probation and could face up to a year in jail.

“Those cats were in plain view,” said ASPCA Assistant Director Joseph Pentangelo.

Zhdanov, 35, pleaded guilty last year in Manhattan Supreme Court to animal cruelty for fatally beating his 15-pound, 5-month-old mixed Lab.

In January, he was sentenced to three years’ probation and forbidden from keeping any animals except his collection of tropical fish.

The ASPCA conducted a raid last Monday after a tip that cats could be seen through the window of the W. 56th St. apartment Zhdanov shared with his girlfriend, Tanya Becker.

Becker claimed Zhdanov didn’t live there any longer, and another man who rents a room in the apartment said the cats were his.

Suspicious ASPCA agents returned the next day and this time found Zhdanov in the apartment, along with Tommy, the tiger cat, and Rocko, a rare Snowshoe.

When the agents grilled the roommate, he produced a receipt showing he purchased Tommy in 2003 from a Web site,, for $2,000. He said he got Rocko from a shelter and had no idea that Zhdanov had pleaded guilty to animal cruelty.

The ASPCA agents took Tommy and Rocko for safekeeping. They left the fish.

“The cats are healthy,” said Pentangelo. “They showed no sign of abuse or neglect. But they can’t cohabitate with the defendant.”

A neighbor who requested anonymity said Zhdanov deserves to be caged.

“Now he has totally disrespected the judge, the court and the ASPCA,” the neighbor said. “The judge should put him in jail.”

Jack Ryan, a spokesman for the city Department of Probation, said Zhdanov will be notified this week that he has violated the terms of his probation.

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