Oscar Flecha’s Shooter Gets Inappropriate Sentence

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The subjects from different stories in our archive collide tonight, and we could not be sorrier. Oscar Flecha’s shooter, who pled, was sentenced today. The sentence was weak and light, and it inflicts the shooter on Hillside SPCA, which cared for Iris and Whitney, for community service. Many consider this an inappropriate resolution to the case.

Oscar Flecha is a sweet ginger kitty from Schuylkill County, PA who was intentionally shot with a crossbow arrow by a neighbor on August 6, 2010.  He recovered from the wound and trauma but his family did not just let matters drop. They sought justice and gained an army of supporters. The neighbor, Paul Canfield was charged with animal cruelty and, on the day he was to stand trial in early June, he pled guilty. Sentencing was today.

The sentence was 6 months probation, $1,000 toward Oscar’s medical bills, and community service at two Schuylkill County animal shelters who do not want him. The two shelters are Hillside SPCA and the Ruth Steinert Animal Shelter, with 75 hours assigned at each. We have not had the opportinity to become acquainted with the Ruth Steinert shelter, but know a little bit about the wonderful caring staff and the wonderful work done for the animals at Hillside, and are stunned, angry and saddened that they have been saddled with Paul Canfield. They are not comfortable having the shooter around either the animals or the shelter’s volunteers.

“It’s like letting a pedophile watch a baby. I think that’s ridiculous. I’m not going to feel comfortable allowing him to be around any of our dogs or any of our cats, so he’s not welcome here at the shelter.”

Hillside SPCA Assistant Director Trish Moyer


Not only is the sentence minimal, but it punishes the two shelters, who had no say in the matter, by forcing them to accept this person who they want nothing to do with . They will request of the court that Paul Canfield be  reassigned but one of the shelters has told concerned supporters that it would take more time, money, personnel and effort to fight it than they can reasonably muster.

This is what Paul Canfield did to Oscar.

“Jail time would have been nice because he pretty much turned our home into a prison. Where I used to feel safe and it was a sanctuary, it’s not anymore.”

Petmom Amy Fisher

Although it has been a victory of sorts for Oscar and his pet parents Paul Flecha and Amy Fisher to have the assailant charged, plead guilty, and receive sentencing, the outcome seems very unsatisfying.

Sadly, Oscar was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on his back this summer, too. One day the lump appeared on his back, and it grew rapidly. The cancer is too close to the spine and too aggressive, to make surgery practical or helpful, and it is thought to have been caused by Oscar’s receiving a vaccination at that spot.

He hope that Oscar’s family can now put this terrible episode behind them and move on with their lives, hopefully without fear. We wish the two shelters well as they attempt to deal with the sentence put upon them.

This WNEP tv report from this evening’s news does a good job covering today’s events with the sentencing.

For more detail on the case, and for a biography of Oscar, go to Oscar Flecha Nears a Measure of Justice at Last.

0 thoughts on “Oscar Flecha’s Shooter Gets Inappropriate Sentence”

  1. If I lived in the area, I would volunteer to be at that shelter every day he is to stand and watch him, making sure he does nothing to hurt anyone or any animal. Those shelters should not be made to deal with this man. They should have a say in that. Let him go pick up trash on the roadside or in some park.

  2. how terrible. i’m fighting back tears. poor sweet oscar. mr. canfield is a monster &i agree with trish moyer comparing the situation to a pedophile watching a baby. what a terrible human being.

  3. I can’t believe they would sentence a man who shot a cat to do community service at animal shleters?! That’s insane! They should have threw the book at him.

  4. I don’t understand, the way his lawyer was talking it was like this was no big deal….where is his..humanity? I also cannot begin to comprehend what the judge was thinking in giving this man community service in 2 animal shelters when he has already shown a callous disregard for animal life to begin with. The whole thing is appalling.

  5. I only hope his heart is touched by the animals in the shelter, and it makes some small difference.

  6. Someone needs to educate that stupid judge. The abuser should be left in a locked up car in the hot weather we’ve been having.

  7. I agree. Dealing with the shelter animals is too nice for him. I like the idea of picking up trash on the roadside, out in the public where people can see him. What a “he-man”. All that muscle and no brains.

  8. How awful. This idiot shouldn’t be allowed around the animals at the shelters and staff or volunteer members shouldn’t have to put up with him. And payment of $1000 towards medical bills – he should have to pay it in its entirety and then some. Happy the kitty is doing well.

  9. Couldn’t agree more with Trish Moyer’s (of Hillside SPCA) comment. What kind of sentence is that and what was that judge thinking? It shows a real ignorance of animal abuse. It also demonstrates a lack of understanding about abusers in general. Look for this person offending again, and perhaps against humans, in the near future.

  10. does the judge think this is going to going to change him from a sicko to an animal lover? he should have thought this thru. this isnt rehabilitation this is stupidification!

  11. I do not like that the judge let an animal abuser have a sentence that involves the abuser taking care of animals. How stupid is that judge? That is like letting a child abuser word at a day care. He should have to pick up trash on the side of the road and pay for all of the cat’s medical bill for the that injury. I don’t understand our justice? system these days.

  12. He should do road clea i.e. community service-up for 3-5 yrs (using up his “personal time” weekends) wearing a t-shirt that reads “I abuse animals” Im from PA (near Hillside SPCA) and will be writing a letter to the Judge comlaining on how he handled this case and POOR JUDGEMENT!

  13. I don’t think the sentence is so bad. It may be intended for the shooter to learn to care more for animals. It could have a good outcome by positively impacting the guilty man, softening his heart and having a long-term effect.

  14. I say – some human are not longer human. What he has done to that innocent creature, the wonderful cat – that is incredible. I hate such humans. 🙁

  15. What does that mean amended the community service sentences? What are they planning to do with this monster? Please, I’m sure we would all like an update when you are able to give us one. Thank you so much. And my best wishes to Oscar and his family. I know he has another hurdle to go with the cancer, but he is loved and such an angel. Praying that his outcome is the best it can be. He’s sure been through a lot in his little life. Bless his heart.

  16. Thank you very much Karen for giving us an update! Really appreciate it. It is a wise decision on their part since I guess they can’t lock him up. Takes the emotional stress off the shelters and most likely the family of Oscar. Any time we can get any updates on how Oscar is doing will be much appreciated. I have 2 beautiful Red Tabbies like him and I don’t think I could be as nice as Oscar’s family is. Probably a good thing I don’t live back there! Thanks again Karen, Susie Cooke-Erskine

  17. This goes out to the author and editor of this article. His name is PATRICK NOT PAUL!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean come on if you are going to talk about people without even hearing their side of the story you should at least get their name right.

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