NEWS AND VIEWS (COMMENT) LEESBURG, VIRGINIA USA: the story caught my eye because of the effort by the authorities to catch either a single shooter or shooters who have been taking pot shots at outside cats around Leesburg in Virginia, USA and primarily in the area of Ashburn, which is to the south-east of Leesburg.
To an outsider, Leesburg appears to be a well-to-do town with high earning professionals living in a pleasant and well-maintained environment which clashes with the story of ten cats being shot at, some seriously injured and some killed. It seems that the weapon of choice is a pellet gun which can cause serious injury. They think it might be a kid who is doing the shooting as pellet guns are available to them.
What impressed me is how the community has come together to try and catch the perpetrator or perpetrators. Six local nonprofits, a state agency, two county departments and around seventy volunteers are involved in the hunt combined with an $8,000 award for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.
The reward is being paid via donations from individuals and a plethora of organisations including Friends of Loudoun County Animal Services, the Loudoun Community Coalition, the Humane Society of Loudoun County. This is not an inclusive list.
The Department of Animal Services Humane Law Enforcement Chief Chris Brosan appears to be the senior person in charge of the investigation in conjunction with the local police. They are chasing down all the leads of which there appear to be many. Brosan has an eleven member Humane Law Enforcement team. They’ve received a lot of calls, social media posts and tips about the shootings with an uptick of information coming in in recent days.
The Humane Law Enforcement team is working with the Sheriff’s Office to go through the evidence and cross-reference the reports by residents on hearing gunshots and other other information in order to tie it together and create a clear picture of what is going on.
The source of crimes depicted could lead to the perpetrator being charged with a class 6 felony which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $2,500.
I don’t want to describe the injuries as has been reported in the local news media but suffice to say that either the cats were shot dead or on occasions suffered catastrophic injuries leading to euthanasia. Some cats were shot nine times; it’s quite horrendous.
This sort of psychopathic animal abuse is known to be a possible precursor to serious violence against people and the Loudoun Now news media website refers to a story which highlights this. It concerns the case of Michael Bowles who lived in the Lucketts area. He was charged and convicted with cruelty to animals when he slit his dog’s throat in 2015. In 2017 he shot his father with a sawn off shotgun and burn down his parents’ home. A very clear example of how animal cruelty leads to cruelty against people.
Map showing Loudoun County
Call Animal Services: 703-777-0406 if you know something.