When we first saw the headline “man admits shooting cat with crossbow” we did not dream that the cat was Oscar Flecha, the sweet kitty of Paul Flecha and Amy Fisher, yet it was. Oscar’s family and his many supporters have waited and wished for the day his assailant was found guilty; now the man has admitted his guilt and will avoid trial. Sentencing is August 2.
Oscar is well known to us from his family’s campaign to show his sweet true self, highlight animal abuse, and bring Oscar’s assailant to some measure of justice.
Oscar had withstood a very bumpy history but was just a cat like many others until August 6, 2010, the day he wandered over to the neighbor’s house, as was his habit, and was brutally shot in the head with a crossbow. Oscar received medical care, along with loving attentions from his family, and recovered from the attack, but his pet parents Amy Fisher and Paul Flecha did not let the matter rest.
They saw to it that Oscar’s assailant, Patrick Canfield, was charged with animal cruelty, and they found support to keep Oscar’s case in the public eye and petition the court to grant Oscar some degree of justice. Local residents came out in support of Oscar and his family, as did people from across the US and as far away as Britain and Australia. A Facebook support page Oscar’s Army and a Care2 petition are just two examples of the stalwart effort on the part of Paul Flecha and Amy Fisher to stand up to a violent abuser.
We will give a recap from this week’s news story from the court but will first introduce you to Oscar and his case from his family’s perspective.
Here is Oscar’s biography and a recounting of his story, as presented on a page for his supporters, and edited slightly:
“Oscar Flecha is a cat. This is his story, from what we have been able to piece together.
His original humans pretty much abandoned him. Oscar was out and about in the neighborhood, taking care of himself the best way he knew how. Along the way, his beautiful tail was injured. The original human ran it over with his truck! Oscar’s tail became infected with gangrene. A kind, animal loving lady named Dottie, who lived in the neighborhood, saw that Oscar was sick, trapped him, took him to a vet, had him fixed, and his tail amputated to save his life. Dottie took care of Oscar for a time and when he was healthy, she knew it was time for her to say goodbye to him. This was Oscar’s FIRST rescue.
Dottie brought Oscar to Amy and Paul’s house. She knew that they were “animal people” and she entrusted Oscar with them. She told them that the original humans were not feeding him or the other 3 cats they had, and asked if they would put food and water out for them. Amy and Paul agreed. That was Oscar’s SECOND rescue.
Time passes, and one of the 3 cats was killed by a car. Another cat moved away with the original humans, who thought not to take Oscar and Weezy with them.
Oscar and Weezy were thriving and living a cats life. They enjoyed Amy and Paul’s attention and, like cats living in a suburban area, enjoyed an occasional romp and walk. They frequented the area around the original humans home. Perfectly natural … except the original humans were long gone. New people moved in. Amy and Paul spoke with them and told them the story about Oscar and Weezy. They seemed like nice people, and agreed to let them come and go as they would. Well, one of the nice people left, and was replaced by “The New Boyfriend” whose name is Patrick Canfield.
From this point on, we we refer to Canfield as “The Defendant”.
Oscar had a routine, he would saunter back to Amy and Paul’s place at the end of the day, but it wasn’t unusual for him to spend the night outside. On really warm evenings, he just wouldn’t come back at the time Amy or Paul brought the cats in for the night.
On the morning of August 6, 2010, Paul was leaving for work when he discovered Oscar, laying on the porch, bleeding, an arrow in his head, barely breathing…barely alive. He rushed Oscar to a nearby veterinary hospital, where veterinarians managed to save his life. That was Oscar’s THIRD rescue.
The police were called and began an investigation. The Defendant went to the police station and admitted to the shooting, He told them ” “I loaded the crossbow and I shot it,” The “it” he refers to is Oscar. “It got aggressive toward us, hissing and pawing. I didn’t know if it was rabid.”
From the angle of the arrow, it was determined that Oscar was looking directly up at The Defendant. Looking at him only as cats who are used to being around people do. Not a feral cat, and more to the point… HE KNEW ALL ABOUT OSCAR before he pulled the trigger. This was a premeditated and horrific attack.
They hauled Canfield off to court, where he was charged with animal cruelty. He paid $2,500 in bail and is out free, walking amongst us all, waiting for the court to decide his sentence.
Oscar’s Army was formed to bring his supporters together in one place, to post updates on the case, express your support of Oscar and his family, see new photos of Oscar, and to demonstrate to the media and the courts, that this type of criminal behavior needs to be aggressively policed, and expeditiously dealt with in the courts by handing down meaningful sentences.”
Patrick S. Canfield, 37, arrived at the Schuylkill County Court on Monday, as scheduled to stand trial for shooting Oscar. Rather than undergo the trial, he plead guilty to cruelty to animals before presiding judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin.
Judge Dolbin ordered preparation of a presentence investigation, scheduled sentencing for 11 a.m. Aug. 2 and dismissed the jury that was to have decided the case. Canfield is free on $2,500 bail, and the maximun penalty in the case is two years of incarceration and $5000. Assistant District Attorney A.J. Serina is quoted as saying “I think there’s a chance that, because of the heinous nature of this act, that the judge would give him some incarceration,”
Paul Flecha has said of the plea, “I think admitting his guilt says enough; we have the truth. We know what happened. He definitely knew he was in the wrong.” Amy Fisher simply said “I’m happy he admitted his guilt.”
Paul also expressed a very brief indication of his horror at finding Oscar shot. “I found my cat laying on my deck with a crossbow bolt through his body,” and said he is both surprised and thankful that Oscar, who is 9 or 10 years old, survived. He then gave thanks to Vetcetera, the vet office that treated Oscar’s injury.
Oscar’s video of his story. This video shows us the sweet cat that Oscar is, but also includes news footage and images of Oscar from the time of his injury.