An Italian road cyclist has been suspended from his team and fined more than $4,000 after he shot and killed a cat belonging to San Marino’s former head of state and current minister of tourism, Federico Pedini Amati.
Trek-Segafredo announced Tuesday that 21-year-old Antonio Tiberi would be suspended “a minimum of 20 days without pay” after local media reported that Tiberi had been fined $4,300 for shooting his neighbor’s cat with an air rifle in 2022 in San Marino.
“Regarding Antonio Tiberi’s recent sentencing in San Marino, Trek-Segafredo fully agrees with the fine and strongly condemns the reprehensible act, which is a clear violation of the team’s code of conduct,” the team’s statement read.
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“The team was previously unaware of the transgression and has immediately suspended Antonio for a minimum of 20 days without pay… If necessary, the team will take further action in the future. In addition to the fine already issued by the courts, the Team will donate Antonio’s suspended pay to an appropriate animal care, protection and rescue organization.”
Tiberi released a lengthy statement on Instagram apologizing for the incident.
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“I deeply regret my shameful actions. Shooting the cat was something tremendously stupid and irresponsible, the seriousness and danger of which I realized only after. I don’t want to make any kind of excuse to comment, to add any ‘if’ or ‘but.’ I accept with sense of responsibility and repentance the consequences and the blame for my action. If I have not spoken publicly about it before it was only because of a strong sense of shame and regret.”
His statement continued: “I understand the criticism from fans, the media and people in general. I can do nothing but apologize to them, just as I did to my team, who are a blameless victim of the affair. My conduct was not at all befitting a professional athlete and, more generally, a responsible and sensible person. I apologize again and publicly to the minister of San Marino, Pedini Amati, for the emotional damage I caused him, as well as to all the citizens of San Marino. Finally, to everyone, I reiterate that it was not my intention to kill the cat; it was an accident.”
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Tiberi said in addition to the fine and suspension, he plans to donate a portion of his earnings from this current season to “some associations in the San Marino territory that take care of stray cats.”
Amati told local media that while he appreciates the apology, the fine is not suitable for the actions committed.
“The cat didn’t bother anyone,” he said, via Reuters. “It had been with us for a long time. My 3-year-old daughter Lucia loved it. You cannot kill a pet and get away with a … fine. I appreciated that the boy admitted the fact. Having said that, we don’t need to give these people residence.”