A 21-year-old professional cyclist in Italy has been suspended by his team and fined for the shooting death of a cat belonging to his neighbor, the tourism minister and former head of state of San Marino.
Antonio Tiberi was fined the equivalent of $4,250 and his Trek-Segafredo team suspended him for 20 days after news of the incident broke in Italian media on Tuesday. He said he was trying an air rifle when he pointed it at the head of the cat belonging to the family of Federico Pedini Amati and fired.
“The cat didn’t bother anyone,” Pedini Amati said (via Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera). “We have been with us for a long time. My 3 year old daughter Lucia loved it. You can’t kill a pet and get away with a… fine. I appreciated that the boy admitted the fact. That said, we don’t need to give these people residency.
Tiberi, the 2019 world junior time trial champion, had recently moved to San Marino, a landlocked microstate in north-central Italy. Trek-Segafredo called Tiberi’s action “reprehensible” in a report Tuesday, announcing the suspension and said that “if necessary, the team will take further action in the future.” He added that he would donate Tiberi’s salary to an “appropriate animal care, protection and rescue organization”.
In a lengthy apology posted on Instagram, Tiberi called the shooting an accident as well as “extremely stupid and irresponsible.” [action]the seriousness and danger of which I only realized afterwards.
He added that he accepts with “a sense of responsibility and repentance the consequences and blame for my action. If I haven’t talked about it publicly before, it’s only because of a strong sense of shame and regret. I understand the criticism from fans, media and people in general. I can only apologize to them, as I did to my team, an irreproachable victim of the affair. My conduct was not at all befitting a professional athlete and, more generally, a responsible and sensible person.
He apologized to the Pedini Amati family for the “emotional damage” and said he plans to work with organizations dedicated to helping stray cats.
“I realize that all this only comes [in retrospect] but, alas, I can only follow repentance with a concrete and useful gesture. I made a big mistake and I believe now the only thing I can do is act to redeem [myself].”