Cat Assassination: Has It Really Come to This?


I debated long and hard before sharing this story with you. I hate sharing bad news, and this particular news item almost brought me to tears — but if I don’t write about it, I feel like I am part of the problem, one of the millions who stay silent in the face of acts of cruelty like this. And I have to write about it. Writing is just about the only way I can fully process emotions. But rest assured, I haven’t shared any gruesome photos!

When the story broke yesterday about a family cat that had been brutally murdered and left on the doorstep of an Arkansas campaign manager, I was appalled and heartbroken, especially when I learned that it was a 5-year-old child who discovered the cat.

Jacob Burris and his family arrived at their Russellville home Sunday morning to find Gato, the murdered feline, on their doorstep, with the word “LIBERAL” spray-painted on the cat’s mangled corpse.

“We cannot have peace among men whose hearts find delight in killing any living creature.” — Rachel Carson

Burris is the campaign director for Ken Aden, a Democrat running for a congressional seat.

Arkansas is a very conservative state, but Burris says that although people are outspoken about their political positions on a number of issues, they are all still kind to one another. And that’s the way it is in most of the U.S.

But how did somebody become so sick with hatred and rage that they felt the need to torture and murder an innocent cat to express that hatred? We’ll probably never know for sure.

“Thankfully, there are not that many people who want to do something like this,” Aden said. “The majority of people in this district are hard-working folks, but you get the occasional crazy individual out there.”

“Cruelty to animals is one of the most significant vices of a low and ignoble people. Wherever one notices them, they constitute a sign of ignorance and brutality which cannot be painted over even by all the evidence of wealth and luxury.” — Alexander Von Humbolt

I wouldn’t care if the victims of this crime were liberal, conservative, or whatever: Nobody deserves this, least of all that most apolitical of all creatures — a pet cat!

It’s sick, it’s wrong, and it’s heartbreaking.

Aden’s opponent, Steve Womack, agrees.

“The thought of brutalizing any animal for the sake of making a political statement is beyond any standard of decency and the person or people responsible for this act should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” said Beau Walker, Womack’s chief of staff.

Animal cruelty is a felony in Arkansas, and the Russellville Police Department is investigating the crime. The Humane Society of the United States has put up a $2,500 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the person or people responsible for killing the cat.

I believe we’re a better people than this. All of our spiritual, moral and ethical teachings tell us that we need to respect the lives of all creatures on this planet.

“A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast.” — Proverbs 12:10

Nothing we do will bring Gato back to life or reverse the trauma Burris’s young son experienced when he found the cat dead on the doorstep. But I hope with all my heart that a brutal act like this will bring us together, not tear us farther apart.

I’m sharing this video with you in hopes that it will lift your heart and remind you that it’s in every one of us to be wise, kind, and compassionate. This is who we really are as a people. We’re not a land of haters, not a land of ignoble cowards. We’re all human beings, and we’re all in this together. Namast.

(In a reader? Watch the video here.)

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