Oh, Fred the Cat, how we miss stories about you! The legacy of Fred is mentioned as the NY Times updates what's happening with the fake vet the undercover kitty cat helped bust.

Last year, after a dog owner was suspicious of supposed vet Steven Vassall's treatment (the dog had an open wound and was not given meds post-op), the Brooklyn DA's office called in Fred for a sting that led to Vassall being charged with practicing without a license and cruelty to animals. Fred was deputized a detective, but died after running into the street six months later.

Vassall is now claiming a "serious and persistent mental illness" which the Times says may lead to a plea deal on the charge of practicing without a license.

Court records show that Mr. Vassall has met with private psychiatrists, expressing remorse and describing a misguided intention to help others. His lawyer has submitted testimonials from supporters and satisfied pet owners. And the case has progressed toward Mental Health Court.

“That speaks to what may be the ultimate resolution,” said his lawyer, Mr. Russell.

If so, an outreach group in Harlem has offered to employ Mr. Vassall with community service to AIDS patients, providing a volunteer outlet for the untrained urge to heal.

The animal cruelty charges were dropped after a judge felt there wasn't enough "evidence of serious physical injury."

Fred was a shelter cat, and there are many wonderful cats - and other animals - in the NYC shelter system; here's NY Animal Care & Control's Adoption Search.