Robin Hood Is Wounded in the Leg in Yet Still Another Bow and Arrow Attack Upon a Cat in the Tampa Area
"For someone to be out there shooting him is just unimaginable to me. I don't know what kind of person does that. If they are going to hunt animals, what's next, children?"
-- Gail McFarland
The recent spate of attacks upon cats by archers in and around Tampa continues unabated as law enforcement authorities apparently are either unwilling or too incompetent to put a stop to them. The most recent one occurred on June 16th at the junction of U.S. 19 and Whitney Road in the High Point neighborhood of Clearwater when an orange-colored cat subsequently named Robin Hood was shot in his right front leg with a two-foot-long aluminum arrow. (See photo above.)
Fortunately for him, he was discovered by area resident Gail McFarland who cares for a group of feral cats that reside near an electrical substation where he was found. It is unclear, however, whether he was a member of the colony or simply a stray.
"I saw an arrow like that in his front paw and tried to get it out but got caught up all in the brush there," she later told Channel 13 in Orlando on June 17th. (See "Cat Dubbed 'Robin Hood' Shot with Arrow Through Paw.")
Being unable to extricate the projectile herself, McFarland did the next best thing by contacting the Humane Society of Pinellas County (HSP) which immediately dispatched a veterinarian to the scene. The vet tranquilized the traumatized moggy and transported him to HSP's shelter where emergency surgery was performed in order to remove the arrow.
The rescue and subsequent surgery was Robin Hood's second piece of good luck; his first came earlier when the arrow narrowly missed the bone. He consequently is expected to make a full recovery and then be put up for adoption. (See photo below.)
There can be little doubt, however, that he has been put through Hell. In particular, it is estimated that he was walking around with the arrow embedded in his leg for between twenty-four and forty-eight hours before help arrived.
As excruciatingly painful as that undoubtedly was, other cats have been discovered with arrows that had been in them for up to as long as a week. Numerous other feline victims of archers slink off into the woods and die lonely, uncounted deaths.
Robin Hood's narrow escape has, quite understandably, left his rescuer deeply disturbed. "For someone to be out there shooting him is just unimaginable to me," McFarland told Channel 13 in the article cited supra. "I don't know what kind of person does that. If they are going to hunt animals, what's next, children?"
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has checked the arrow for fingerprints and HSP is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator of this dastardly deed. If prior cases of this sort are anything to go by, anyone expecting the guilty party to be brought to justice anytime soon is going to be sadly disappointed.
Last year, par exemple, a black and white cat named Arwen was murdered by an archer in New Port Richey and, as far as it is known, no arrests have been made in that case. There was, of course, the customary public outrage and mashing of teeth but that was about all. (See Cat Defender post of May 13, 2008 entitled "Just When It Appeared That She Was Going to Make It, Arwen Dies Suddenly after Being Shot in the Abdomen with a Barbed Arrow.")
In the one known incident where an archer was apprehended it was through tips supplied by the public. That occurred during the summer of 2005 when nineteen-year-old Stephen H. Cockerill of Palm Beach was arrested for shooting a black and white kitten named Archer in Tarpon Springs.
On July 28, 2006, he pled guilty to one charge of animal cruelty but the presiding judge sentenced him to only thirty days in jail, one-hundred hours of community service, and eighteen months of probation. (See Cat Defender post of August 25, 2005 entitled "Nine-Week-Old Kitten Named Archer Recovering after Being Shot with Crossbow Near Tampa.")
While the difficulties involved in apprehending the perpetrators of these heinous crimes cannot be underestimated, it nevertheless is difficult to believe that the law enforcement community and humane officials are doing all that they could in order to stem the tide. In that regard they are not any different from their counterparts in other parts of the country.
Back in 2007, an unnamed feral cat was shot and killed by an archer in Miami, Ohio, and no arrests have been made in that case. (See Cat Defender post of August 2, 2007 entitled "Ohio Cat Shot in the Leg with an Arrow Is Forced to Endure a Long-Drawn Out and Excruciating Death.")
Even on those rare occasions when law enforcement personnel can be prevailed upon to take the initiative and make an arrest, the end result usually is a repeat performance of what happened with Cockerill. Such was the case earlier this year in the Boise suburb of Caldwell when a fourteen-year-old boy left a nine-month-old gray and brown cat named Valentine blind and deaf on her left side as the result of a bow and arrow attack. (See photo below.)
Instead of doing both cats and society a huge favor and locking up this juvenile monster for the remainder of his worthless life, the judge only required him to author letters of apology to the attending veterinarian and the shelter caring for Valentine. (See Cat Defender post of June 1, 2009 entitled "Blind and Deaf on Her Left Side as the Result of a Bow and Arrow Attack by a Juvenile Miscreant, Valentine Is Still Looking for a Permanent Home.")
Homeless cats, like the sans-abri, are considered to be fair game for almost any sort of abuse because they do not have owners and most sectors of society could care less about what happens to them. In most instances, justice can only be secured for an abused cat through the dogged determination of it owner. Thankfully, such owners do exist and Janien Bubien of the San Diego suburb of Vista is one of them.
When her scumbag neighbor, Robert Eugene Brunner, tracked down and executed her three-year-old orange-colored cat, Bill, with a bow and arrow she not only saw to it that he received a three-year jail sentence but also pursued monetary damages against him as well. Her perseverance paid off when an enlightened civil court judge ordered Brunner to pay her $2,500 for killing Bill.
The court did not stop there but went on to award her an additional $5,000 so that she could relocate to a more cat-friendly neighborhood. (See Cat Defender posts of August 14, 2007 and September 24, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Grieving Owner Seeks Justice for Orange Tabby Named Bill That Was Hunted Down and Savagely Killed with a Bow and Arrow" and "California Man Who Slew His Neighbor's Cat with a Bow and Arrow Is Sentenced to Three-Years in Jail."
The legal establishment's appalling indifference to attacks upon cats is compounded by the complicity of individuals like Twila Cole of HSP who have their own agendas to promote. "We hope Robin Hood will have a speedy recovery and inspire others to keep cats at home safe from those who want to harm them," she pontificated to Tampa Bay Weekly on June 18th. (See "Robin Hood Doing Well.")
First of all, Robin Hood and millions like him do not have homes and therefore must be protected in the wild. Secondly, as the cold-blooded murder of Bill demonstrates, cat-killers are not the least bit hesitant about trespassing onto private property in order to commit their crimes.
Furthermore, if she is advocating that all cats should be imprisoned indoors for life as the American Bird Conservancy advocates, she should be publicly horsewhipped for selling them down the river to those fiends and frauds. Cats are neither slaves nor second-class citizens of this planet and are thus entitled to their freedom.
Moreover, indoor environments are lethal to cats. (See Cat Defender posts of August 22, 2007 and October 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home" and "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence.")
The objective should be to apprehend and severely punish all feline abusers, regardless of where the crimes occur or the socio-economic status of the victims. No one would be so audacious as to suggest that small children should be locked up at home and deprived of attending school and going to the park just because there are individuals out there who wish to do them harm.
Of course, it goes almost without saying that the amount of freedom a domestic cat is given depends upon the circumstances. In rural areas that are free of feline predators they safely can be given a huge amount of liberty as opposed to busy and congested cities where they should be allowed out only in specially-designed, fenced-in yards.
In the final analysis, the ultimate blame for all the misery that cats like Robin Hood, Arwen, Archer, and Bill were forced to endure rests squarely with those politicians who steadfastly refuse to ban the sale of bows and arrows. They, like everyone else, know that most often it is juveniles who are attracted to them and that it is cats and other animals who usually wind up as their victims.
The situation with bows and arrows is analogous to that of air guns, which also should be outlawed. (See Cat Defender post of May 7, 2007 entitled "British Punks Are Having a Field Day Maiming Cats with Air Guns but the Peelers Continue to Look the Other Way.")
If retailers in and around Tampa are unwilling to stop selling bows and arrows, local politicians should enact laws that require each arrow to be encrypted with an invisible code that is electronically recorded at the time of sale. That at least would allow the police to trace it back to the purchaser.
The expertise and the resources are available to put an end to these sickening attacks. The only thing lacking is the resolve to do so on the part of politicians, policemen and, above all, rescue groups, such as HSP, who prefer to stick their heads in the sand and blame cat owners rather than the perpetrators of these crimes.
Photos: Bay New 9 (Robin Hood with blanket over him), HSP (Robin Hood), and Simply Cats (Valentine).