Who is killing cats in the neighborhood? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Who is killing cats in the neighborhood?

January 31, 2007

Albany - - People are shooting cats in an Albany neighborhood. It started over the weekend and neighbors are afraid it's getting worse after they found more than one dead cat.

Caring for cats has become a part of 61 year old Shirley Schmidt's life.

"If they eat all of the food up, then I'll feed them something else."

She had five cats, until...

"I looked over here and I said oh my god, there's my cat."

This weekend she had to bury one of them.

"I came home from church and I went to take out my trash and there was my cat laying out there shot with a hole through him. There was like a ring of blood on the ground and the cat was laying there dead."

Just a day earlier, she spoke with neighbors about other cats found dead in this neighborhood at Coolidge Drive and 10th avenue.

"I can't understand. What was it, someone was bored on a Saturday afternoon and wanted to ride around shooting something?"

The Humane Society of the United States says intentional cruelty to animals is a huge problem and could be a sign of psychological distress. In some cases, the society says, animal cruelty can point to a background of violence or potentially violent behavior in the future.

That's Schmidt's major concern.

"If somebody starts out riding around shooting cats whose to say eventually they wont move up to people?"

So she reported the incident to police. Neighbors say they saw two men driving a black pickup truck this weekend shooting at cats.

They want whoever is responsible caught.

"Even if they hate cats, it don't give them the right. How about if I hated coon dogs and I got a gun and went a shot everyone's coon dog? You think they'd be happy with that? I don't either."

Because she doesn't want another neighbor to re-live her story. People found guilty of animal cruelty can go to prison. Cruelty to animals is a misdemeanor, but Georgia has an aggravated cruelty statue that makes it a felony to maliciously kill an animal and disfiguring its body.

A judge could also sentence offenders to counseling and community service.

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