Cat shot in Dillon might not survive |

Cat shot in Dillon might not survive

Jane Stebbins
Alpine Veterinary Practice technician Kimberly Shawn holds a Siamese cat that was shot in the spine with a BB gun and is paralyzed in the rear legs. Two of the BBs are still lodged in her spine. If doctors can't remove those BBs successfully, it is likely the cat will have to be euthanized. Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

DILLON VALLEY – Summit County Animal control officers are investigating the shooting of a cat in Dillon Valley Sunday evening.

Animal Control officials received a call around 6 p.m. Sunday from a woman who had heard a cat crying and found it in a culvert on Alpine Road near Dillon Valley Elementary School. The cat had two puncture wounds along her spine and couldn’t move her back legs.

Animal control officers stabilized the cat, a 2- to 4-year-old spayed chocolate-point Siamese, and took it to Alpine Veterinary Practice in Dillon.

“At first we thought it was a bite wound,” said Lesley Craig, the lead animal control officer with the department. “We were hoping the swelling was what was putting pressure on her spinal cord, but she still wasn’t walking this morning.”

Monday morning, veterinarian Michelle Gross took X-rays and found two BBs lodged in the cat’s spine, each an inch to an inch-and-a-half apart from the other. She had been shot within the past day, Gross said.

Gross plans to call a specialist in Denver to see if the BBs can be removed and the cat’s movement restored. If not, it is likely she will have to be euthanized.

“Her prognosis is not that great,” Gross said. “One pellet is in the spinal cord. She’s also having trouble urinating. If they are just not walking, some people are OK with that. But if she can’t urinate on her own … It’s still early.”

Craig said it appears the perpetrator shot the cat at close range, possible even from above or behind, as there was no injury to the cat’s sides.

“It made me so angry when I realized someone had done that to her,” Craig said. “She’s in pain. She could lose her life. It seems to be people think it’s just fun, it’s no big deal to shoot an animal.”

Animal control officials are also trying to locate the owner of the cat, as she seems otherwise well cared for and is very sociable. Students and teachers from the elementary school say they have seen the cat in the area recently.

“It’s just pointless, absolutely pointless,” Craig said. “The cat’s not an aggressive animal. I don’t know how someone can look something in the eye and shoot it.”

Anyone who might know the owner of the cat or who might have shot it are asked to call the Summit County Animal Shelter at (970) 668-3230.

Craig said the shelter sees several cats that have been shot by BBs, but most of those aren’t suffering from life-threatening injuries. A cat shot in Mesa Cortina and another in Ptarmigan both survived. Someone also shot a dog on Tiger Road a couple of years ago, requiring veterinarians to amputate a leg.

A boxer puppy named Rosco is recovering in a foster home after his owner allegedly abused him. The dog had numerous fractures in his legs, ribs and jaw. He underwent surgery last week to remove a fractured tooth, and is putting on weight.

The dog’s former owner, Nathan Suchecki, 23, was charged with animal cruelty in April. He has an arraignment scheduled June 2.

– Jane Stebbins

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

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