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Former Moorhead man accused of killing cats may have tried to get another pet

Jalan Greer

MOORHEAD, Minn. — A former Moorhead resident accused of killing cats might be trying to adopt another pet against the conditions of his probation, the Clay County prosecutor has been told.

County Attorney Brian Melton said he's received phone calls and an email about this and has passed it on to Jalan Isaac Greer's probation officers in South Dakota to investigate.

Greer, 24, who now is believed to live in Rapid City, S.D., submitted an Alford plea on a charge of mistreating or torturing an animal Nov. 20 in Clay County District Court. Such a plea means he doesn't admit guilt, but agrees a jury might reach a guilty verdict based on the evidence.

He was sentenced to two months in jail and two years of probation, during which he's not allowed to have any animals.

On Sunday, Jan. 21, the West River Spay/Neuter Coalition, a nonprofit group dedicated to animal welfare in Deadwood, S.D., posted a warning on its Facebook page about Greer, who it said also goes by Jay Cipher. "Apparently, this past week he went to the shelter in Sturgis to try to adopt another animal," the post said. "Fortunately he was recognized and turned away. Be careful, he may be looking for CHEAP or FREE animals."

An ad posted the same day on Craigslist warned others not to give away or sell animals to Greer, describing him as a suspected "serial cat killer," though it made no mention of the Sturgis shelter.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead called the probation office in Pennington County, S.D., to see if it's investigated the accusations against Greer, but had not heard back from a supervisor there. The newspaper also called the Sturgis/Meade County Animal Shelter, which referred questions to Sturgis Police Chief Geody VanDewater.

VanDewater confirmed Tuesday, Jan. 23, that his office became aware this week of an incident that happened either last Thursday or Friday at the Sturgis/Meade County Animal Shelter. He said a shelter employee spoke with a man who stopped by and asked if there were any dogs available for adoption. There weren't any, she said, but there were cats available.

"He didn't respond and was kind of awkward and turned around and left with no further conversation," the chief said.

VanDewater said his office has reviewed a "short little blip" of surveillance footage from the shelter. While the camera was mounted to the ceiling and looked straight down, not offering much of a view considering the man didn't look up, the chief said the video suggests the man was indeed Greer.

Still, he said it was unclear whether the man's inquiry at the shelter would be a probation violation if Greer was the man in the video. VanDewater said he first needs to get in touch with probation officials, and if there is the possibility of a violation, the Sturgis Police Department will send along whatever evidence it has.

"He hasn't violated any of our state and city laws by going in just asking a simple question about adoption of animals," VanDewater said.

Greer is not listed in telephone directories, and his Twitter account seems to have been deactivated.

Court records show police were called to Greer's south Moorhead apartment on Jan. 19, 2017, after someone heard a cat crying and making sounds like it "was fighting for its life." Greer let officers in and told them his cat was fine, but they saw a dead cat on the floor with blood coming from its mouth and ear. He then told officers that he brought the cat home and it suddenly died, according to court records.

Witnesses indicated that other cats had died under Greer's ownership. When an officer asked Greer why he had killed three cats, Greer said he was fearful of cats hurting him and he had probably blacked out and killed them, according to court records.

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