NORTH CATASAUQUA, PENNSYLVANIA — There are plenty of people who dislike cats, but you’re not allowed to shoot them, even if you’re a cop. A police officer in the aptly named Pennsylvania town of North Catasauqua, responded to a call in early December 2015. The caller told police a lost cat was in his backyard and requested assistance after failing to capture the animal himself.
Officer Leighton Pursell then arrived at the home and reportedly immediately told the homeowner, “it may not be politically correct, if it’s wounded, I’m going to have to put it down.” The officer and the homeowner then went to the backyard where the cat was hiding under a barbecue grill.
After the cat reportedly hissed at the officer, Pursell allegedly shot and killed it. The orange tabby was no stray, however, Sugar was the darling companion of Crystal and Tom Newhart, who lived five doors down.
The Newhart’s had been searching for Sugar after he bolted out the door that morning, but had no idea their beloved pet was hanging out in a neighbor’s backyard.
After a day of fruitless searching, Tom eventually called North Catasauqua’s non-emergency police hotline and was informed his pet had been shot to death by a police officer.
Adding insult to fatal injury, the officer reportedly also tossed Sugar’s corpse into a trashcan after ‘executing’ it. Pursell says he had to make a judgment call and decided to put the injured animal down.
Tom and Crystal Newhart hired a lawyer and a vet who examined Sugar’s body and determined the animal was not injured in any way — aside from the gaping gunshot wound.
A Facebook page, Justice For Sugar, has been set up while over 2000 people have signed a petition demanding the officer be fired. The Newhart’s lawyer also questioned Pursell’s decision to fire a weapon in a residential neighborhood, at we shouldn’t forget, a cat.
If the district attorney determines the case has legs, officer Pursell will be tried on animal cruelty charges.