Police Shooting of Pet Cat Prompts Protest, Calls for Investigation

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A Facebook page demands “Justice for Sugar,” a family cat that escaped from its home and was shot by a police officer in North Catasaqua, Pennsylvania. (Screengrab: Facebook)

Angry residents of a Pennsylvania town want animal cruelty charges filed against a police officer who shot a pet cat named Sugar after it escaped from its home. A Facebook page, Justice for Sugar, has been created to call for an investigation. “Terminate and prosecute that thug cat executioner,” one man wrote on the Sugar’s page.


Protesters filled the room at a Monday night council meeting in North Catasaqua, Pennsylvania to demand an investigation be conducted into the incident that took place last month, according to a report by WPVI-TV. “The cat, named Sugar, escaped from its house. An officer who came across the cat shot and killed it, calling it a ‘judgement call,'” the online ABC report states.

“This is a very disturbing story,” one poster wrote in response to an article, “Missing Pet Cat Shot Dead by Police” published on lehighvalleylive.com. (Screeengrab: lehighvaleylive.com)

Residents at the meeting said they want the police chief to resign and the officer fired. “It’s scary to have a guy like that out on the street,” one of the protesters told WPVI-TV. “He shouldn’t even be carrying a gun in my opinion.” Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said he would investigate. And the North Catasaqua Police Department says it is reviewing what took place.

Media covered a recent meeting of the local borough council where protesters demanded an investigation. (Screengrab: WPVI-TV)

The cat belonged to Tom  Newhart of North Catasaqua, who spoke to WFMZ-TV. “Where was the effort made to help? Here they are to serve and protect, not to be judge, jury and executioner on someone’s lost cat.” Newhart hired attorney Jenna Fliszar, who posted a statement on Sugar’s Facebook page. Fliszar says the officer who shot the cat should be charged with animal cruelty as “the only option that adheres to the law and protects the public.”

The press release said that on December 6, the cat got out of the Newhart’s home and “wandered several houses away” to the home of a neighbor, who called police for help after he was unable to catch the cat and feared it was injured. Even though the cat was uninjured and posed no danger to the officer, “he shot the cat in the neck, killing her,” Fliszar says, “then threw the cat’s body in a dumpster. “Another officer later helped retrieve the body and return it to Newhart so he could have Sugar cremated. “A post-mortem exam was performed and
showed no signs of injury, except for the gunshot.”

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