Family cat recovers from gun shot

Owner seeks information about incident that forced leg amputation

Derek Himes of Queen comforts his cat, Annabella. Himes said someone shot Annabella, forcing the amputation of her left front leg. Courtesy photo

CLAYSBURG — On July 24, Derek Himes of Queen opened the door of his home to let his two cats out, something he said he does every day. Himes said the cats like to roam outside, but always come home at the end of the day.

When evening came, only one of his cats returned.

For three days, Himes searched for the other, fearing the worst.

“She always came when I called for her,” he said. “I was getting worried.”

Himes said he spotted his missing cat, Annabella, lying underneath one of his cars when he came home from work Monday.


After Himes coaxed his cat out from under the car, he noticed her left front paw curled up.

“I knew something was wrong,” he said. “I thought maybe she got attacked by another animal.”

Himes took Annabella to a veterinarian who discovered the cat was indeed injured, but not from an animal attack.

“The vet did an X-ray and said Annabella had been shot,” he said. “Her leg was shattered, so they had to amputate it.”

Himes said he believes his cat was shot on Friday, and that it took her three days to make it home on her severely injured leg before crawling under the car to escape the heat.

Himes said he called the state police, who questioned people in the area.

“They basically said they couldn’t do much unless someone confessed,” he said. State police at Bedford are investigating the incident as an act of animal cruelty.

Himes said he cannot understand why someone would shoot his cat. He said his cat always wore a reflective collar, so whoever came upon her would have known she was someone’s pet.

“It’s obvious she is not a stray, not that it would be OK to shoot a stray cat,” he said.

Himes said he wants people in the Walter Hollow Road area to be aware that someone shot his cat and to watch their pets closely when they are outside.

“If you live near this area, do not let them out of your sight,” he said. “I don’t want what happened to us to happen to others.”

Himes said Annabella is doing as well as expected as she adjusts to life with only three legs.

“I’m sure she is still in some pain,” he said. “We are just happy she is still alive.”

Himes said he wants the person who shot his cat to be held accountable and is asking anyone who may know anything to contact the police.

“We would greatly appreciate any information on who did this,” he said. “It sickens me that someone would do something like this. She is a family member.”


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