Reports of puppycide, in the U.S. occur about once each day, and has been covered multiple times by this Examiner. On December 15, WFMZ reported a horrific twist. On Sunday, December 6, a six-year-old cat named Sugar was gunned down while sitting poolside at a neighbor’s house, five doors away from her own home. The shooting took place in the small town of North Catasauqua, Pennsylvania.
Just hours earlier, according to owners Tom and Crystal Newhart, Sugar had escaped from her home. When neighbor Mike Leinart found a cat sitting in his yard, he thought the animal looked injured. He was unable to capture her, and called the local police department for assistance. When Officer Leighton Pursell arrived, according to Mr. Leinart, the first thing he stated was it’s “not politically correct, but if it’s injured we will put it down.” According to Leinart, the cat hissed at the officer as he approached. Leinart noticed he made no further attempt to catch the cat, but pulled out his shotgun and blew the cat away. He then turned to Leinart and reportedly stated that “he’d have to clean up the mess.”
The Newharts were able to retrieve Sugar’s body and brought it to the veterinarian. According to reports, that examination, which included an X-ray to see if the cat had been injured at all before it was shot by the officer, revealed “No lacerations, no blood, other than neck wound on body.” The Newharts are devastated by the actions of this officer and are seeking to bring criminal charges against him. “We are trying to get charges filed for animal abuse, reckless endangerment and illegal discharging of a firearm in the borough.” A post from December 16 states that “the boro solicitor put gag order on boro council until they are done investigating this matter.”
A former Mayor of the town stated that there is no such policy as that stated by the officer; officers are not authorized to put down injured animals. Reports state town policy is to only shoot when an animal is attacking someone or a threat to the area, not if it is injured. The police chief and the mayor state that this has never happened before. The borough said it’s in the process of gathering information on what took place. They will conduct a review and investigate. Afterwards, the borough will take the necessary and appropriate steps.
This is not enough of a response from the town, based on comments posted on the town’s Facebook page, where there has been no statement from administrators. Irate residents are demanding action. Today one resident posted, “One of your officers killed a cat. We want to know why! No, you don’t get to say “it’s our policy” to put down injured animals…not your call to make. Are you going to suspend the officer and have a 3rd party inquiry?” Others are speaking about putting up a petition.
The Newharts took in Sugar, a rescue, at four-weeks-old. Crystal “bottle fed her like a baby.” Most people who treasure their pets would agree with Tom Newhart, who stated through tears, “It’s like one of your children, you raised them.” Most pet parents would agree with that sentiment. If you would like to state your opinion, please contact Boro Hall at 610-264-1504, or leave a comment on the town’s Facebook page; that link is provided here.
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