Published October 14, 2006
INDUS, Minnesota – A school principal has resigned and could face felony firearm charges after he shot and killed two orphaned kittens on school property last month.
Wade Pilloud, who resigned as principal of the Indus school, 40 miles west of International Falls, said he shot the kittens to spare them from starving to death after their mother was killed in an animal trap.
Pilloud said the shooting, which occurred on school grounds, endangered no one.
"I have bred cats, and I currently own two myself," he wrote Friday in an e-mail to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I am not a cat hater. I did not want the animals to suffer."
The incident happened Sept. 21, and several students still on the grounds for after-school activities heard the shots. The school has students from kindergarten to 12th grade — about ages 5 through 18.
"There were parents who felt, apparently some rather strongly, that there were concerns about the safety of their children," said Joseph Flynn, an attorney for the South Koochiching/Rainy River School District. "The district's position is that safety was not compromised."
John Mastin, acting sheriff in Koochiching County, said Pilloud could be charged with felony possession of a firearm on school property and reckless discharge of a firearm, a misdemeanor.
County Attorney Jennifer Hasbargen said Friday that the case was under review.
Mastin said the shooting put no one in danger but said Pilloud used "poor discretion and poor timing," especially amid the growing fear of gun violence in schools.
The district put Pilloud on administrative leave after the incident. Flynn said Pilloud agreed to an undisclosed settlement and resigned.