INDIO, Calif. -

A Feb. 20 preliminary hearing date was set for a Palm Springs man accused of shooting his neighbor's cat, which had to be euthanized.

     Ron Lee Conyne, 59, has pleaded not guilty to a felony animal cruelty
charge. The preliminary hearing at the Larson Justice Center in Indio will
determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

      Conyne allegedly shot the cat with an air rifle on Dec. 27, 2011, in the
1400 block of Fiesta Road. The 5-year-old feline was taken to a veterinary
hospital and later to a veterinary specialist in Orange County. But a pellet
from the air rifle had struck the cat's spinal cord, and the animal had to be
put to sleep, Palm Springs police Sgt. Mike Kovaleff said.

      Authorities did not release a motive for the shooting.

      Conyne is free on $5,000 bail.