Cat struck and killed by BB gun

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Black Friday leaves bad memories to James Burrows and his wife, Deborah. It was the day they put their kitten Tweedle Dum down. Deborah cradled the cat while it was injected and on Saturday the cat was buried alongside eight other cats the Burrows have owned in their 38 years of marriage. Two of those eight were lost to coyotes, cars struck two and others died either of old age or organ failures.

Tweedle Dum, who along with his twin sister Tweedle Dee were adopted from a Facebook posting about a year ago, was the victim of a single BB shot, although that wasn’t the known cause until after a series of tests revealing a pellet had severed his spinal cord.

Burrows can’t imagine why someone would want to hurt the cat. Last Monday afternoon, Burrows was on his deck when he spotted Tweedle Dum hanging by its neck from between two fence pickets. Tweedle Dum was caterwauling.

He said his cats frequently climb over the fence and he was bewildered why Tweedle Dum was caught on this occasion. He immediately rescued the cat from the fence, bringing it into the house. He put it down, but its legs splayed when it attempted to stand. The cat started crawling using its front legs.

Burrows said he recognized some type of spinal trauma and on checking the animal found one small spot of blood near its spine midway on its back. Burrows made the cat comfortable on his bed, hopeful that it was nothing more than temporary paralysis as the cat was otherwise alert and awake.

The following morning the Burrowses discovered Tweedle Dum had crawled to a basement room. Again the cat was alert and, while concerned, Burrows gave it some more time.

But the Burrows’ hope for a recovery was short lived. On Wednesday morning they found the cat lying in a pool of bloody urine under the couch.

Burrows rushed Tweedle Dum to Greenwich Bay Animal Hospital, where his back was shaved to reveal a small puncture wound. The veterinarian recommended Tweedle Dum be taken to a 24/7 animal hospital.

Burrows delivered Tweedle Dum to the Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in East Greenwich that found a BB pellet lodged in the cat’s spinal column. Burrows was told the cat might heal to the point where it could be outfitted with a prosthetic device, such as a set of wheels for its rear legs after surgery to remove the pellet. But that was the best of possible outcomes.

The news only got worse on Thanksgiving.

Ocean State reported that Tweedle Dum’s condition had declined overnight, and they were now concerned with “pain management” and his future “quality of life.”  The recommendation was to euthanize Tweedle Dum. Neither of the Burrowses could deal with that thought as they were preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. They put off their decision until Friday.

When Burrows learned Tweedle Dum had been shot he notified Warwick Police, who notified Animal Control. An officer visited the Burrows’ home on Oak Tree Avenue in the Hoxsie Section to take a report and, after learning that the cat was euthanized, returned to obtain a written statement that Barrows was told would be turned over to detectives. Burrows said he was informed that since the cat died of the injury, the shooting is a felony that could carry a maximum of two years behind bars. The incident has cost him more than $2,100 in veterinary bills.

In a Facebook posting soon after he learned that Tweedle Dum had been shot, Burrows said, “If you have neighborhood pets you don’t want in your yard, please shoo them away gently. If you own a BB gun or have children who use them, please remember and instruct them about the sometimes dire [and permanent] consequences which can result.”

As for Tweedle Dum’s twin sister, Burrows said Tweedle Dee has been staying close to home.

“She’s on my bed right now,” he said.

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