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No criminal charges for neighbor who freed trapped cat

Thomas Young, 71, will not face criminal charges.

Thomas Young, 71, will not face criminal charges. (Sept. 28, 2009) Photo Credit: Ed Betz

A former Nielsen Media executive who said he went under his neighbors' house in Westhampton Beach in July to free a feral cat from a raccoon trap will not face criminal charges provided that he not trespass on their property between now and next month, according to the Suffolk District Attorney's office.

In exchange, Thomas Young, 71, a self-professed cat lover, agreed to pay $696 in restitution to his neighbors, Deanne and Hebert Jacobi, for the five raccoon traps Young allegedly rendered useless when he sprayed the cages with cat repellent.

"I am very, very happy that the charges [could be] dropped," Young said Monday.

The deal was reached on Oct. 15 at the start of Young's trial before Southampton Town Justice Barbara Wilson. Young was charged with two counts of second-degree trespassing for entering the Jacobis' property, located on Dune Road, uninvited, and two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief for springing the raccoon traps.

The charges will be dropped on Nov. 15 if Young stays out of trouble between now and then, said Bob Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota. If convicted, Young could face up to a year in jail.

Hebert Jacobi said he is satisfied with the disposition.

"As long as he stays off my property and took object lesson, yes," Herbert Jacobi said.

The Jacobis, of Dix Hills, said they hired a licensed trapper to catch raccoons that caused damage to their beachfront vacation home in Westhampton Beach.

Unknown to Young, two motion-sensor cameras set by the trapper caught Young going under the Jacobis' house twice: the first time to set off the traps and the second time to spray cat repellent on the cages.

Young, who splits his time between his homes in Manhattan and Westhampton Beach, admits to doing both. He said he heard cat meows for two days, on July 14 and July 15, and it was just too much to bear. Given that the Jacobi's were not home at the time, Young let himself onto their property to investigate and said he found the cat trapped in one of the cages and let the feline lose.

"I didn't go on their property to do any harm," Young said.

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