Sona, cat shot in both eyes, expected to recover well - Feline abuse case raises questions about provincial legislation, enforcement

Rebekah Ward
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Sonya, a cat picked up in Mainland was shot in both eyes with a pellet gun

By Rebekah Ward

Special to The Telegram

The feline caught in the town of Mainland Tuesday and treated in Stephenville for a pellet gun shot in each eye has been temporarily sent to a foster home.

She was released Friday at 4p.m. according to Jessica Boyd, an associate veterinarian at West Coast Veterinary Services.

“Surgically, so far, we just did one procedure (on Wednesday, July 10). We didn’t feel like she could undergo multiple surgeries at one time,” Boyd said.

“Essentially the socket itself was cleaned out, and everything was stitched closed. So when it’s all healed she’ll basically have fur covering that whole area, but she’ll definitely be a one-eyed cat. Her other eye has negligible vision.”

Before Sona’s next surgery, the veterinarians want her to completely recover from the first. They estimate it will be at least a week.

“The other thing that she really needs is at least a partial, if not a complete amputation of her right front limb,” Boyd said.

“Basically from the wrist down, the parts of the bones that are remaining are infected and rotting. Gangrene would be an appropriate term to use. I’m not sure how that injury occurred. It’s definitely possible that she was bitten by another animal. It (also) seemed likely that she could have had her paw caught in a snare.”

Sona’s limb injury does not appear to be recent.

“If that paw isn’t surgically removed, the concern is that the infection could spread to her whole body, and she could become septic. I’m honestly surprised that the infection didn’t (already) take her,” Boyd said.

Gwen Samms from SCAPA (Society for Care and Protection of Animals) in Stephenville is one of two volunteers who went to Mainland to pick Sona up. The other was a representative of Scaredy Cat Rescue from Corner Brooke. Samms and her team at SCAPA have taken Sona in for now.

“She’s going to be coming home with one of the volunteers for the weekend,” Samms said.

“She goes back (to the vet) next week, but they’re going to give her a break for the weekend, and get her out of the cage at the clinic.”

Samms is concerned about the mounting veterinary bill, but concerned individuals have already begun sending SCAPA monetary aid.

“But it will be a very large bill, it will be up in the thousands,” Samms said.

When asked how often SCAPA sees abuse cases like this, Samms said it sees more than their share. The Scaredy Cat Rescue volunteer who assisted Samms echoed this sentiment.

“Every week we’re getting phone calls, every day,” the representative said.

“Our phones don’t stop. And we’re just volunteers. I’m sure right across the province there are problems with cats like this.”

These two rescuers were not alone in trapping Sona Tuesday; according to Samms, they were helped by Mainland resident Kevin Cornect. She said it was Cornect’s girlfriend who posted the initial facebook photos of Sona; it was these photos that led her to the injured cat.

The clinic feels Sona’s gunshot wounds must have been intentional. Boyd thinks there’s a possibility someone misunderstood that pellets were unlikely to kill Sona, and and after seeing her leg, shot her to take her out of her misery.

“But the pellets in her head were definitely on purpose. There’s no way that someone accidentaly shot that cat,” Boyd said.

Sona’s case has been turned over to the RCMP.

“There’s been conversations with them, they’re not ignoring it,” Boyd said.

“But (in general) I think there is still room for improvement (in terms of action against animal abuse). Not necessarily with the legislation, but mostly with the enforcement.”

As Boyd noted, the legislation does exist here in Newfoundland. Sgt. Marc Coulombe of the RCMP said the police had access to

two pieces of legislation for this purpose.

“We can follow the Animal Health and Protection Act. That is a provincial act we can work with,” Coulombe said.

“Specifically, section 18 of the act says that a person shall not cause an animal to be in distress. There are three levels of fines on that act, and they’re ticketable offences. (The) first offence is $100 dollars, second is $250, and third is $500. The second way we can go (is a criminal charge): section 445 of the criminal code of Canada is for injuring or endangering animals.”

Under that sub-section of the criminal code, offenders could face up to five years in prison, or else up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Coulombe said that from what he knows about Sona’s case, he would likely turn to the criminal code. But ultimately, the situation has to be evaluated at the discretion of the enforcement official, and if there is not enough evidence to support a case, their hands are tied.

Organizations: West Coast Veterinary Services, RCMP

Geographic location: Mainland, Stephenville, Newfoundland Canada

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Recent comments

  • Huck
    July 14, 2013 - 17:29

    The people of Mainland should be taking a very close look at their next door neighbors because there is a very sick individual amongst them. This twisted sicko likely started off by pulling the wings off of flies, and now has progressed to torturing small animals. If this goes unpunished it will be a great confidence boost and the next step will likely be to hurt children. That should be enough incentive to get out there and figure out who is responsible.

  • nicksgirl
    July 14, 2013 - 15:29

    Amazing that people are so ignorant when it comes to animals. To think that one does not feel pain is beyond comprehension. What a bunch of low minded neanderthals! Each day brings more reports of animal abuse. The laws to protect these pure, trusting creatures are just a bunch of meaningless words. Even well educated people who you think would know better are keeping beagles in cages, denying them of human contact and any affection. "Can't do that 'cause it spoils them for huntin' rabbits" So while Fifi, the family poodle snuggles on a warm bed next to the fireplace, the poor beagle shivers outside in an unheated pen all by him/herself. Just disgusting. Breaks my heart. Don't say "never mind those stupid animals, give to Childrens Wish or some other related charity". Great causes no doubt but in one of the richest countries in the world, we shouldn't have to nickel and dime everyone to death to raise money to send a child away for surgery. Makes me sick and ashamed to live in a society that has no regard for life, human or animal.

  • Mauren
    July 13, 2013 - 12:01

    I have no more words left to say on this one, I am exhausted from it because I am a huge pet lover and people who do things like this make me so sick. They are the animals and a lot more going on too, I am not singling out any place on our island but since Trooper the cat days when I helped him and Gwen out who I might add is an awesome lady/ shelter worker/ pet angel but is given a lot of bs from that place Trooper was abused in . she would take money from her own pockets to help animals in need, my dream for her is that someone with lots of money to spare will drive out to Stephenville and tell her they are going to build her a huge shelter, free of charge, free of rent and then and only then maybe she can help all the animals still without any hassles from anyone. As for abuse so much going on, we need the RCMP AND RNC to really act on this with the new laws, wish now they would make the fines and jail times even stiffer than they are now.I truly believe that this sweet baby was abused only because she was pregnant, it has happened before and hopefully with new laws it wont happen again but some people are bad and some people are mean and cruel to innocent animals like this sweet furbaby. All they had to do was bring this pregnant cat to a shelter, is that very hard to do no it is not but with their sick minds or whatever it is they did this horrific nasty violent act upon an innocent animal and I hope they get caught for this and pay and pay dearly for it, a cruel act like this the person or persons should not get away with it, someone knows who owned this cat and therefore possibly knows who did it but also probably afraid to tell on them. If it is a cat the other day I hope it is not a child or anyone else some other time in the future, obviously anyone who could do such inflict harm and injuries like this on a cat let alone a pregnant cat is 2 scoops short of crazy and needs intervention, some kind of help now before a child is next , so sad but unfortunately there are many out there doing this on a regular basis to animals on our island and all across the world, even people promoting dog fighting in the world, sick sick sick is what I call it all. thank you .

  • Grandma
    July 13, 2013 - 10:08

    Words fail to describe the fiend who is responsible for the attack on this defenseless creature. It is true, humans are the most dangerous creatures on earth. I wonder if this poor animal was tied by her front paw to allow the beast to shoot her eyes out and then left to die horribly and painfully. Too bad the low life can't be branded so the world would know the depths of his/her depravity.

  • mundy
    July 13, 2013 - 09:46

    Just goes to show what "Dirt Bags" we have living among us. Not fit to live !!!