Teenage Wino Who Gunned Down Her Neighbor's Cat, Trouble, with a Crossbow from Her Bedroom Window Cheats Justice
"I did it last night when I was drunk."
-- Chloe O'Connor
Nineteen-year-old Chloe O'Connor had been sipping on the grape the night of June 22nd when she just happened to spy neighbor Giovanni Zazzarino's beloved six-year-old ginger and white cat, Trouble, pussyfooting across the top of a garden fence. She was not too inebriated, however, to fire a foot-long arrow from a crossbow into the unsuspecting moggy's abdomen from the bedroom window of her residence on Grange Road South in Hyde, Greater Manchester. (See photo of her above.)
The arrow was propelled with such velocity that it pierced Trouble's stomach and came out the other side. He tried valiantly to make it home but died en route thirty minutes later. (See photo below.)
Obviously thrilled to death with the accuracy of her marksmanship, the wino did not even bother to collect her victim's body. That gruesome task was left to an unidentified passerby who also informed the RSPCA.
When officers from that organization rapped on her door the following day the remorseless O'Connor proudly admitted her guilt. "I did it last night when I was drunk," she is reported in the September 10th edition of the Daily Telegraph as readily volunteering. (See "Facebook Campaign: Nursery Worker Jailed for Killing Cat with Crossbow.")
When she was queried by RSPCA prosecutor Mark Harper as to why she did not check on Trouble's condition she lied through her teeth by claiming "it was too dark to see." Quite obviously if there was sufficient illumination to kill a cat with a crossbow at twenty yards there was equally enough in order to collect its body.
For this despicable crime O'Connor was sentenced on September 9th to a minuscule twelve weeks in juvenile detention by Judge Brian Goodhand of Tameside Magistrates Court. For whatever it is worth, she also was banned from owning any pets for ten years.
Even in meting out that ridiculously light sentence, Goodhand was forced to turn aside a plea by O'Connor's shyster, Russell Wild, for no jail time at all. "This was a deliberate and inconsiderate incident while you were under the influence," Goodhand is quoted by the Daily Telegraph as ruling. "We have no good reason to suspend your sentence."
Despite all of that, fifty-one-year-old Zazzarino was pleased with the outcome. "I'm ecstatic to see this woman go to prison but I hope this hate campaign will end soon," he told The Sun on September 9th. (See "Crossbow Cat Killer Is Caged.") "I would rather remember Trouble how he was. My daughter was devastated when I told her what happened. She's had Trouble ever since he was a kitten."
RSPCA inspector Vicki McDonald likewise was happy with the result. "Although the outcome for Trouble cannot be changed, I hope today's conclusion goes some way towards comforting and reassuring his owners that justice has been done," she rambled on to the Daily Telegraph in the article cited supra.
Clearly, both Zazzarino and McDonald are out of their skulls. Trouble was brutally slain and is gone forever. O'Connor will serve at least part of her sentence and probably is already back out on the street.
Even though she recently gave up her job as a nurse, she is sure to get another one. Nurses always are in demand and even a criminal record is no longer much of an impediment in securing another position.
That is not justice! She should have been put away for life. Moreover, there is a good chance that she will continue to abuse and kill other cats, if not indeed individuals.
Lenient sentences of this sort do absolutely nothing to deter abusers and killers. In fact, Goodhand's ruling will serve only as a green light for others, especially teens, to kill even more cats.
It also is especially ludicrous for courts to allow cat killers to escape punishment simply because of either their age or the fact that they were in their cups. This is a big problem in such notoriously besotted countries as England and America where the booze flows as freely as the water in the Atlantic.
After all, it was only on November 14th of last year that District Judge Sue Green of Camberwell Youth Court let off a sixteen-year-old London girl named Jessica with nine-months of supervised probation after she drowned the HMS Belfast's mascot, Kilo, in the Thames. (See Cat Defender posts of November 24, 2008 and November 10, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Kilo's Killer Walks in a Lark but the Joke Is on the Disgraceful English Judicial System" and "London Teenager, Convicted of Killing the HMS Belfast's Kilo, Also Is Unmasked as a Remorseless Liar and Drunkard.")
To his credit, Trouble's horrific death has not prompted Zazzarino to alter his opinion that cats deserve their freedom. "Cats are free spirits. They should be free to roam around," he told The Sun in the article cited supra. "They shouldn't risk being shot by sick individuals like this."
That is a far cry from the knee-jerk responses heard so often from many supposed cat advocates who seldom fail to capitalize on incidents of this sort in order to sell the species down the river to the cretins at the American Bird Conservancy. One such turncoat is Twila Cole of the Humane Society of Pinellas County who took advantage of the wounding of a Clearwater cat named Robin Hood back in June in order to advocate that all cats be imprisoned indoors.
"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 told the Tampa Bay Weekly on June 18th. (See "Robin Hood Doing Well" and Cat Defender posts of July 23, 2009 and November 1, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Robin Hood Is Wounded in the Leg in Yet Still Another Bow and Arrow Attack Upon a Cat in the Tampa Area" and "Robin Hood, Who Survived a Near Fatal Bow and Arrow Wounding, Is Sent to a Sanctuary in Order to Live Out the Remainder of His Life.")
Declarations such as that are tantamount to arguing that children should not be allowed to go to either the park or online because of the fear of pedophiles. In addition to robbing cats of their freedom, such a cockeyed agenda additionally provides humane officials, such as Cole, and the police with a convenient excuse for continuing to do absolutely nothing about apprehending archers who commit these types of dastardly crimes.
As a consequence, almost all of them continue to elude justice as more and more cats are wounded and slain. (See Cat Defender posts of May 13, 2008 and July 24, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Just When It Appeared That She Was Going to Make It, Arwen Dies Suddenly after Being Shot in the Abdomen with a Barbed Arrow" and "Critically Wounded Dave Limps Home to His Family with an Arrow Embedded in His Chest Only One Inch Away from His Heart.")
Even on those rare occasions when the authorities can be prevailed upon to make an arrest, judges such as Goodhand invariably overlook their crimes. For example, an unidentified fourteen-year-old male archer from the Boise suburb of Caldwell was let off scot-free earlier this year after he left a cat named Valentine both blind and deaf on her left side. (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.")
Even eighteen-year-old Stephen H. Cockerill of Palm Beach, Florida, received only thirty days in jail for his wounding of Archer in 2005. (See Cat Defender post of August 25, 2005 entitled "Nine-Week-Old Kitten Nicknamed Archer Recovering After Being Shot with Crossbow Near Tampa.")
The only archer in recent memory to receive any meaningful jail time for attacking a cat was Robert Eugene Brunner of Vista, California, who in 2007 received three years for killing Janien Bubien's cat, Bill. He also was ordered to pay $7,500 in fines and compensation. (See Cat Defender posts of September 24, 2007 and August 14, 2007 entitled, respectively, "California Man Who Slew His Neighbor's Cat with a Bow and Arrow Is Sentenced to Three-Years in Jail" and "Grieving Owner Seeks Justice for Orange Tabby Named Bill That Was Hunted Down and Savagely Killed with a Bow and Arrow.")
Furthermore, it is a good bet that O'Connor would have escaped detention altogether if it had not been for the more than three-thousand concerned individuals who established two online groups on Facebook entitled "Chloe O'Connor, Cat Killer" and "Justice for Trouble." Among the sobriquets hurled at her were "sick bitch" and "cat killing chav." Other concerned activists chanted outside her residence.
The law enforcement community's failure to take these types of crimes seriously is compounded by the unwillingness of legislators to restrict the sale of bows and arrows. At the very least, all arrows should be encrypted in such a fashion that they could be traced back to their purchasers.
While law enforcement and humane officials twiddle their thumbs, the attacks continue unabated. For example, in the Waco suburb of Lacy-Lakeview three homeless cats cared for by Paul Garner were shot with crossbows on August 24th. Two of them were killed while the third one was still at large with an arrow protruding from her neck.
It has not been possible to determine what happened to that cat but needless to say unless the arrow was promptly removed she, too, likely died. (See photo above.)
"She was hurt and she didn't want to be moved or anything," Garner told KXXV-TV of Waco on August 27th. (See "Police: Neighborhood Cats Shot with Bow and Arrows.")
Garner, who is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the attacker, added, "It takes somebody that's a little sick to do something like this to an animal."
At 9:45 p.m. on August 22nd, a brown-colored domestic shorthair, subsequently nicknamed Arrow, walked up to a house in the Highway 427 and Rexdale Boulevard area of Mississauga, Ontario, and began pawing at the door. Upon answering, the landlord discovered that the two to three-year-old male cat had an eighteen-inch arrow embedded in his flesh.
The police were called and Arrow was rushed to the Mississauga-Oakville Veterinary Emergency Hospital in the nick of time. (See photo above of Arrow recuperating.) "As of yesterday it was eating and they were doing some more observations," Toronto Police Staff Sergeant Andy Schneider told the National Post on August 24th. (See "Cat Shot with Crossbow Arrow Survives, Police Appeal for Help.") "It's expected to recover."
Although Arrow was well-groomed and apparently well cared for, he was not wearing a collar and no one has come forward so far in order to claim him. If that situation remains unchanged, he will be put up for adoption.
It is nevertheless odd that he would claw at the door of a stranger's house. This could be a case where the tenant, although willing to shelter and feed him, is too cheap to take responsibility for his veterinary bills.
Although Health Canada is light years ahead of America's predatory capitalist model, Arrow's plight highlights one of its major shortcomings. Just as no individual should be denied medical treatment due solely to a lack of moola, the same moral principle should be extended to cats and all other animals. (See Cat Defender post of September 25, 2007 entitled "Acid Attack Leaves Solskjaer with Severe Injuries and Horrific Pain as His Heartbroken and Cash-Strapped Family Struggles to Cope.")
As per usual in cases of this sort, the Toronto Police do not have either any clues or suspects but only volumes of self-righteous moral indignation. "...in my twenty-eight-years at the police I've never seen anything like this," Schneider added. "I can't believe how someone could be so cruel to an animal."
As horrific as the attack on Arrow was, it pales in comparison with the wholesale crimes and abuses that occur every day at the draconian Toronto Humane Society where on November 27th the mummified remains of a cat that had been lured into a baited trap and then forgotten about were discovered in the ceiling. (See photo above.)
"It sent chills down my spine," Kevin Strooband, lead investigator for the Ontario SPCA, told the Toronto Star on November 28th. (See "Humane Society: 'It Seems Like House of Horrors'.")
In rural Toodyay, outside Perth, Chloe Stanford's nine-month-old cat, Pfeiffer, returned home on August 20th with a metal arrow protruding from her midsection. (See photo directly below.)
Rushed to veterinarian Philip Lawton's surgery, ninety minutes of painstaking, delicate work was required in order to remove the projectile. Not only was there the risk of infection to contend with, but air pockets in Pfeiffer's chest complicated the procedure.
"The bolt protruded three inches (on) each side, and the cat was on a ventilator, as it could not breathe on its own," veterinary nurse Sue Smith told The Sunday Times of Perth on August 31st. (See "Call to Ban Crossbows.") "I have not seen this before, and do not want to again, as it is very distressing."
Thanks to Lawton's and Smith's herculean efforts, the surgery was a success and Pfeiffer was sent home the following day.
Just as it is the case in Angleterre, Canada, and America, crossbow attacks upon cats have reached epidemic proportions across Australia. In Perth alone, the RSPCA is called upon to investigate two attacks upon animals each month.
Consequently, public opinion is growing to have these killing devices banned. "We have strongly urged Police Minister Rob Johnson to regulate crossbows, as we would like to see them banned compared to longbows legitimately used for sport," the RSPCA's Richard Barry told The Sunday Times in the article cited supra.
If the opinion expressed by Sergeant Paul McComish of the Toodyay Police is indicative of the legal establishment's thinking on this issue banning crossbows is not going to be an easy task. "People should not be shooting cats in town, but Toodyay is a rural community and cats wander a far way out so it is possible it was hunting rabbits or being a nuisance in someone's back yard," he told The Sunday Times.
C'est-a-dire, it is permissible to shoot cats in rural areas or if they happen to be trespassing in an ailurophobe's yard. Such sentiments are not really surprising in a country that goes to such great lengths to abuse, exploit, and exterminate cats en masse. (See Cat Defender posts of August 11, 2005, September 21, 2006, September 7, 2007, and July 14, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Barbaric Australians Come Up with an Ingenious New Poison in Order to Exterminate Cats," "Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquarie," "Australians Renounce Civilization and Revert to Savages with the Introduction of a Grotesque Plan to Get Rid of Cats by Eating Them," and "Australian Park Ranger and a Seamstress Team Up to Go into Business as Cat-Killers and Fur Traffickers.")
As the above cases clearly demonstrate, the use of crossbows, like air guns, in order to injure and kill cats is a worldwide problem. It also is equally evident that feigned shock, outrage, and moral indignation are not going to remedy the situation. Conditions will only improve once police, prosecutors and, above all, judges are persuaded to take seriously crimes committed against cats.
Photos: London Metro (O'Connor and Trouble), KXXV-TV (cat with arrow in its neck), Moggies (Arrow), Chris Young of the Canadian Press (mummified cat), and the RSPCA of Australia (Pfeiffer).