(Tallahassee.com) - A Tallahassee man who pointed a gun at a local school after animal control officers removed 80 cats and five dogs from his home has been given five years of probation for the offense.
On May 16, Tallahassee Police Officers were called to Trinity Catholic School, directly across from George Karam's Gunter Street home, when they were notified the 65-year-old was pointing a gun in its direction, court documents said.
On Monday, Karam pleaded no contest to a charge of improper exhibition of a weapon and corruption by threats for threatening city employees after his pets were taken away city of Tallahassee Animal Control officers. A charge of harassing communication was dropped, court records said.
He was ordered to have no contact with Trinity Catholic School or church, forfeit his gun rights, have no pets and undergo a substance abuse evaluation and counseling. He was given credit for 28 days in jail.
Karam's home made headlines when his animals, who had nearly completely taken over his modest house, were taken from him by city of Animal Control officers the day before he was arrested.
Leon County Judge Ronald Flury ordered the pets be taken away on Thursday, May 15. Later that day, Animal Control officers showed up and took all the pets to the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center. Karam then made threatening phone calls to city employees upset that his pets had been taken from him, court documents said.
In the days that followed, the city of Tallahassee launched a campaign to find safe homes for the pets. Erika Leckington, the director of the Tallahassee Animal Services Center, said 67 of the cats were adopted into good homes while three others were transferred to the Leon County Humane Society for adoption. The remaining 10 cats were euthanized, mostly due to health issues and behavioral problems, Leckington said. Four of the dogs were adopted and one more has graduated from the center's Utopia program, which trains and prepares animals for adoption. She will be available for adoption next week, Leckington said.
Karam, who was home while the pets were being hauled off, told one officer he was going to kill him and his family, court documents said. Throughout the evening and into the next day, he repeatedly called the city attorney's office, City Hall and Animal Control and made threatening statements to multiple city employees, court documents said.
Law enforcement officers contacted Karam and warned him to stop calling and making threats, but the calls continued. On May 16, an off−duty Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent saw Karam was pointing a rifle toward the school, court documents said. Tallahassee Police officers found Karam sitting on his porch with an unloaded, lever−action Winchester rifle along with a box of 20 rounds of ammunition, said court documents. A receipt found at the scene showed Karam bought the gun and ammunition that morning, court documents said. TPD impounded Karam's weapon.
Karam said he got the gun only for protection, saying people were driving by his home and making threats. He said he pointed the gun in the general direction of Trinity "only to sight the gun in." Karam added he was not pointing the gun at anyone and was not angry with anyone at Trinity, where he said he goes to church, court documents said.