Last month, Kayla Haskett of Indianapolis, Ind., was examining some wounds on her cat when, to her horror, she discovered a metal BB under one of the scabs.
After finding two other BBs under the cat’s skin, she took Rubix, a 5-year-old orange tabby, to the vet, where an X-ray showed at least 18 other BBs remaining in his body. Several of those BBs are in the cat’s abdomen and will most likely require surgical removal.
“I was in complete shock. I just stood there for a moment with my hands over my mouth and then I started crying,” says Haskett.
Once Haskett got over her initial horror, she realized that the trauma had probably happened in her own home.
Haskett called the police and told them Rubix’s story. She also informed them that her former roommate, Caesar Mendez, had a BB gun and liked to use it for target practice in the basement of their home.
When Mendez was questioned, he initially denied any knowledge, and then said the shooting was an accident. But later, he admitted that the act was deliberate.
“Mr. Mendez is alleged to have acknowledged that he did shoot the cat on multiple occasions, basically because it tried to scratch him once while he was trying to get a pillow,” explains Hamilton County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Andre Miksha.
“I don’t understand why anyone would hurt anything or anybody or any animal that someone loves,” says Haskett. “Rubix is really friendly and has a great personality, but he’s an animal. He’s going to scratch sometimes.”
Mendez is charged with a felony count of torturing an animal. He remained in the Hamilton County Jail on $5,000 bond, but if he’s convicted of the Class D felony, he faces a lot more time behind bars — between six months and three years.
“The legislature has determined, torturing or mutilating an animal like that is serious business,” says Miksha.
“It’s really unfortunate that he took it out on a helpless animal, when [Rubix] was just acting on his animal instinct to fight someone that’s reaching towards him,” Haskett says.
The vet has assured Haskett that Rubix is not in any immediate discomfort. Still, she’s planning to have most of the BBs removed, and is saving up to pay the hundreds of dollars for the surgery.
Rubix seems to have mostly recovered from the ordeal, Haskett says, but he seems to have some residual trauma.
“He was very friendly with the female vet but hid behind a chair when the male vet came in,” Haskett says. “He didn’t always do that. He’s always loved everyone.”