Large Reward Fails to Lead to the Capture of the Archer Who Shot an Arrow Through Brownie's Head
"It's just horrible, and whoever did this, they need to be charged."
-- Sarah Hayes, Monroe County Humane Association
Despite the offer of a reward totaling at least $2,920, the person responsible for shooting a four-year-old orange and white cat named Brownie in the head with a thirteen-inch graphite arrow remains at large. Even more distressing, apparently neither the police nor humane officials have any leads in the case.
The overly friendly domestic cat with a fondness for both humans and dogs was viciously attacked sometime in late August near his home off of Stipp Road on the southeast side of Bloomington, Indiana. The projectile entered directly above his right eye and came out above his left eye. (See photos above and below.)
Luckily, it skimmed the skull and only the cat's skin, tissue, and muscles were damaged. Because they were not promptly treated, the wounds later became infected.
No one knows exactly when Brownie was shot but in all likelihood it was several days prior to his discovery with the arrow embedded in his skull on August 24th by his owner, eighty-three-year-old Dillon Eaks. Even then it was not until a day later that Eaks was able to corral his wounded cat and get him to Towne and Country Vet Clinic.
"I came out here and didn't believe what I saw," Eaks later recalled for the benefit of The Herald-Times of Bloomington on September 4th. (See "Shot Cat Reunited with Owner Today.")
At the hospital, veterinarian Casey Shake sedated Brownie and removed the arrow, the tip of which already had been broken off by an unknown party. Shake then treated Brownie with antibiotics for the infections and left his wounds uncovered so that they could heal.
Miraculously enough, Brownie is expected to make a complete recovery without either any brain or vision damage. That is a far cry from what happened to a cat named Valentine from the Boise suburb of Caldwell who was left blind and deaf on the left side after she was shot in the eye with an arrow by a teenage boy in January of last year. (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.")
In fact, Brownie was up and around the day after his surgery. By September 4th he was well enough in order to pay a brief visit to Eaks. (See photo below of the happy reunion.) A day later he appeared on NBC's Today Show.
"It amazes me every day, the pain tolerance that animals have. They're a lot tougher than people," Shake told The Herald-Times on September 3rd. (See "Cat Hit by Arrow to Appear on Today Show.") "And the unconditional love that an animal can show. I think I'd probably be mad at the world if I was that cat. But he was purring when he left. I guess he made the best of his situation."
As commendable as Shake's work was in removing the arrow, he unfairly took advantage of Brownie's incapacitation in order to whack off his testicles. He even had the unmitigated gall to joke about his deceitful conduct. "I figured that would take his mind off his headache," he told The Herald-Times on September 1st. (See "Cat Recovering after Arrow Pierces Head.")
Brownie's rather substantial veterinary bill was paid for by the Monroe County Humane Association (MCHA) through its Olivia Animal Protection and Rescue Fund. The fund is named in honor of a cat that was torched to death by a group of teens in 1997.
As Monroe County Animal Control Officer Rebecca Brown astutely pointed out, the trajectory of the arrow cancels out any possibility that the wounding could have been accidental. "Anybody hunting wouldn't have been that low to the ground," she told The Herald-Times in the September 1st article cited supra.
This detestable act of animal cruelty has both sickened and enraged Sarah Hayes of MCHA. "It's just horrible, and whoever did this, they need to be charged," she told The Herald-Times on September 1st.
Hayes's principled and courageous stand against cruelty to cats is in marked contrast to that of Twila Cole of the Humane Society of Pinellas County in Clearwater, Florida, who is content with blaming owners for allowing their cats outside. (See Cat Defender post of July 23, 2009 entitled "Robin Hood Is Wounded in the Leg in Yet Still Another Bow and Arrow Attack Upon a Cat in the Tampa Area.")
To their credit, the residents of Bloomington have rallied to Brownie's cause by opening up their wallets and contributing a huge chunk of the reward money that has been collected so far. "People are enraged, sickened, and sad, and they want to do something about it," Hayes told The Herald-Times in the September 3rd article cited supra. "People want to make this situation right." (See photo of her below.)
Unfortunately, there is not anything in the public record to suggest that either the police, MCHA, or Animal Control are actively working this case. Rewards and public denunciations are fine as far as they go but neither of them are going to contribute very much toward apprehending the person responsible for nearly killing Brownie.
That is going to require good old-fashioned police work. Forensic evidence must be collected, residents of the area interviewed, and retailers that sell bows and arrows need to be contacted.
Even if the perpetrator should be arrested it is unlikely that either he or she would ever go to jail because animal cruelty is ludicrously treated as only a Class B misdemeanor in Bloomington. Any attack upon an animal should be automatically classified as a felony that requires substantial jail time if convicted.
"You cannot, in this society, abuse animals like this and get away with it," Hayes told the Daily Mail on September 3rd. (See "Mia-ouch! Cat Speared Through Head by Foot-Long Arrow...and Survives.")
She is wrong, of course, dead wrong. These types of abuses occur thousands of times every day all across America and rarely if ever are the assailants even arrested.
The reason for this glaring neglect is rather simple: police and humane officials seldom bother to even look for them. Through their generous donations, private individuals are attempting to be helpful but they do not have either the authority or the resources to ensure that the animal cruelty laws are respected and enforced.
Both they and, above all, the animals deserve better and it is up to the police and humane officials to stop running off at the mouth and start putting these monsters in jail. If they persist in ignoring these types of crimes, an effort should be made to entice bounty hunters, pet detectives, and others into entering the fray.
The establishment of private militias dedicated to protecting cats and other animals is another option. One way or another these crimes must be stopped.
Photos: Rebecca Brown of Animal Control via Splash News and the Daily Mail (Brownie), Jeremy Hogan of The Herald-Times (Brownie and Eaks), and MCHA (Hayes).