A court in San Marino has fined Italian professional cyclist Antonio Tiberi 4,000 euros (around $4,250) after he pleaded guilty to shooting a cat belonging to the tiny republic’s minister of tourism, Federico Pedini Amati, a court spokesperson confirmed to CNN.
Tiberi, an Italian who lives in San Marino, also risks losing his residency status after the conviction.
He admitted to testing out an air rifle he purchased last June by aiming at the head of the cat belonging to his neighbor, Amati, according to the court. The cat immediately died in the incident.
The 21-year-old Tiberi, who won a time trial bronze at the Junior European Road Championships in 2018 and a time trial gold at the Junior Road World Championships in 2019, apologized for the incident on Twitter.
“I deeply regret my shameful actions,” he wrote in a statement.
“I did something tremendously stupid and irresponsible, the seriousness and danger of which I realized only after the act. I don’t want to make excuses.”
Tiberi added that he would donate his prize money from this season’s winnings to animal welfare organizations in San Marino, as well as volunteering with those organizations in person.
His Trek-Segafredo team also tweeted a response, condemning Tiberi for his actions and announcing that it would suspend him for a minimum of 20 days without pay, which will include three races in Italy.
The team said it would donate Tiberi’s suspended pay to an appropriate animal care, protection and rescue organization.
“Trek-Segafredo would like to reiterate its great disappointment in Antonio’s conduct,” the statement said. “The team strives to help riders improve not just as athletes, but as men and women.
“The team will work closely with Antonio to ensure he educates himself and expects him to take necessary steps to express his remorse and become a better person.”
Pedini Amati told Italy’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper that the cat was a beloved pet of his three-year-old daughter, Lucia, who “loved it.”
He condemned the light sentence and fine and called for Tiberi’s residency to be stripped.
“You cannot kill a pet and get away with a €4,000 euro fine,” Pedini Amati said. “I appreciated that the young man admitted the fact, having said that, we do not need to give residence to these people.”
Pedini Amati did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.
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