He was known as the Pennsylvania Cat Killer and was sentenced to life imprisonment in East State Prison for the terrible murder of a cat by the Governor of Pennsylvania.
According to the newspaper stories of the time, a black Labrador named Pep attacked and killed a cat belonging to the wife of the then Governor of Pennsylvania, Gifford Pinchott.
And with absolutely no remorse for his despicable crime, Pep was given life without the possibility of parole.
But he was set up, and Pep was actually completely innocent. His only actual crime was to rip the pillow off the sofa on the governor’s porch. Killing a cat was a fiction, as newspaper reporters wrote. Governor Pinchot’s son later recalled how his father was simply thrown thousands of letters requesting Pep’s release after a picture of a dog with the number of a prisoner on his chest appeared in the newspapers.
Of course, things were much less exciting in reality. Pep was originally a gift to the Governor of Pennsylvania from his wife’s nephew Cornelia Bryce Pinchot. One of her relatives was a labrador breeder. He became a household pet at the beginning of Pinchot’s first term as governor, which lasted from 1923 to 1927. But in early 1924, he tore his cushion from the sofa on the porch. Pinchott decided that a naughty dog should take a course in a penal institution in Maine. Pep was sent to prison, but not as a prisoner.
During his visit to Maine, Governor Pinchot saw dogs being used as therapy to help prisoners rehabilitate, and he thought Pep might be an ideal candidate. In reality, Pep was sent to prison as a pet for prisoners. In 1929, when the new prison in Greyford was built 90 km from the old one, Pep was transferred there.
He eventually died of natural causes and was buried on prison grounds.