116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Iowa chapter of the Humane Society of the United States is working with the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office to offer a $5,000 reward for anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest of the person who shot a cat with a crossbow in October.
Atticus, one of eight cats belonging to Molly Garrett and her family, went missing between Oct. 20 and 21. Garrett and her family take in a lot of stray cats, and Atticus, a red tabby, has been living with them for about a year.
They live out in the country, outside of Wilton, and their cats roam freely during the day, but they usually all return at night to avoid dangers like coyotes.
“We recently got another stray dropped off and there’s always a little bit of a hiccup in the herd … So, Atticus, he got a little huffy because there is a new cat around. He didn’t come home the night before, and we assumed it was because of the new cat,” Garrett said.
“It always worries us when we can’t get them in, but we always look for them the next day. They usually come in right away in the morning and take naps because they’ve been out all night.”
While she was looking for Atticus that night, Garrett said she thought she heard the sound of a cat crying, but she couldn’t find where it was coming from. The next evening, on Oct. 21, she thought she heard the sound again. She was looking for another cat that had been in the bushes nearby, and was surprised when she saw Atticus coming toward her, walking with an unnatural hop.
“It’s October in Iowa, and so it was super dark. So, I started walking toward him and that’s when I saw that he had an arrow clear through his entire body, and so I screamed,” Garrett said.
The family called their nearby vet, who they’ve known for a long time and who was willing to come in after hours to see the cat. Luckily for Atticus, he walked away from the encounter with all nine lives intact. The arrow managed to go cleanly through his body without hitting any organs.
He’s almost completely healed now, after receiving a lot of pampering over the last month, according to Garrett
“We got really, really lucky. It’s miraculous. I don’t know how that ever could happen, that it just perfectly went in, all the way through his body, that he could have walked all the way home to us from wherever he had ended up, and then that he healed so fast,” Garrett said.
The sheriff’s department has been investigating the incident, but hasn’t found any leads. They discovered the arrow was a bolt from a crossbow, which requires a special license to hunt with in Iowa, but searching for registered crossbows in the area hasn’t turned anything up so far.
“We appreciate any help in this case and we do not tolerate any type of animal cruelty or abuse in Cedar County and we will do everything possible to fully investigate this case,” Chief Deputy Kevin Knoche of the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release issued by the Humane Society of the United States.
To help the investigation along, the humane society decided to offer a $5,000 reward.
The society has a fund that is set aside specifically for helping with police investigations related to animal cruelty. It’s been used in the past to pay for animal autopsies, and it’s often used for rewards like this one, said Preston Moore, the Iowa Humane Society director.
“Rewards like this are sometimes very helpful … It’s almost undeniable that somebody probably knows something, and hopefully a $5,000 potential reward could get them to come forward,” Moore said.
Meanwhile, Garrett still is baffled by the incident. She lives in a pretty tight-knit neighborhood, so Garrett started asking around immediately after calling the police. She said her neighbors are just as confused as she is.
“Nobody even has a inkling of who would have done this. Nobody even has a guess, because we are a close-knit community and it’s such a heinous thing for someone to do,” Garrett said. “(My family and I) have always been the people who take care of the cats … We’ve always been animal lovers, and we can’t stand to see animals suffer.”
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