Couple seeks justice for kitten killed by pellet gun

Wendy Victora

MARY ESTHER — A Mary Esther couple is grieving the loss of a kitten they rescued eight months ago who was shot in their back yard.

Punkin, who met her owner Bob Burton by crawling up his leg on Halloween night at the local VFW post, died early Thursday morning at the new Destin Emergency Vet Clinic. A pellet entered through her neck and traveled through her body, damaging a number of major organs before lodging in her hip.

Bob and his wife, Carol, are upset about losing their beloved kitten who loved to chase flies and sniff flowers. They're also upset that neither the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society nor the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office is investigating who killed her.

"The thing that I'm uncomfortable with is that the cat was basically shot on our fence," Bob said. "Nobody cares. Nobody's going to do anything."

Carol was in the yard with Punkin, who loved to chase flying bugs. She said she went in the house briefly about 7 p.m. Wednesday and less than two minutes later, saw Punkin streak in behind her. The damage was all internal so it took a short time for them to realize she was injured.

The couple says the pellet entered right at the cat's collar and was lodged at the far end of her body. They believe that means the cat was on top of their backyard privacy fence and shot by someone at the same height.

Dee Thompson, director of PAWS, said that since the couple didn't see who shot Punkin, there is little that animal control can do. Nobody is going to say that they shot the cat, she said. It's also a gray area whether the cat was in their yard when it was shot, since the Burtons did not see the incident.

The OCSO deputy who came to the their house the next day told them the incident fell under the county's contract with animal control and, as such, could only be investigated by them.

A Facebook page named #justiceforpunkin had 100 members as of Tuesday morning.

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