A Pennsylvania man and his wife are in shock after the family cat escaped and was eventually killed by a police officer. Now the family wants justice for their cat, who was shot when the cat “hissed” at the officer.
Tom Newart of North Catasuqua and his wife rescued 6-year-old Sugar when she was a baby kitten. The couple bottle fed Sugar and saw her grow into a beautiful ginger. Sugar made the mistake of escaping her home earlier this month and was discovered by neighbor Mike Lienert. Mike lived a few houses down from Tom, and when he found Sugar late that Sunday night he thought the cat appeared injured. So Mike called the North Catasauqua Police Department, thinking an officer would show up to help.
This rarely happens, as Mike and Tom would soon learn. Tom later described the killing of his Sugar on his Facebook page.
“Leighton Pursell showed up and she also hissed at him when he reached for Sugar, she was not hurt at all. The cop, I guess didn’t wanna make any effort to lure and catch her for us to claim, so he pulled out his shotgun and shot her dead!!!”
The video provides some detail and the pictures on this page are screenshots from the video:
Mike confirmed that other than a bit of hissing, Sugar wasn’t aggressive. According to Mike, Officer Pursell stated:
“First thing at the door he said it’s not politically correct but if injured we will put it down.”
Not only did Pursell end the life of a beloved family cat, Pursell allegedly told Mike he’d have to clean up the mess left by the shotgun blast. He also confirms that other than a bit of poking and prodding the officer didn’t even try very hard to catch Sugar.
Tom was able to recover Sugar and have her examined by a veterinarian. There were no lacerations, no blood other than the neck wound where she’d been shot. Tom took his vet statement to Police Chief Moyer, who is aware of the shooting, says the borough is in the process of gathering information and investigating what took place. Moyer says the results of the investigation will determine whether officer Pursell will face disciplinary action. As of December 19, nothing has been done to get justice for Sugar.
Tom says Pursell doesn’t deserve the badge he wears and should be fired immediately and held accountable for killing his cat. The family is seeking advice on what criminal charges can be made against Pursell. The solicitor has put a gag order in place on council until the matter is resolved. If found guilty of any wrongdoing, Pursell could face animal cruelty charges.
Complaints against Sugar being shot to death for hissing can be directed to North Catasauqua Council at 610-264-1504 or to police (non-Emergency) 610-437-5252. Tom hopes enough publicity will bring about officer Pursell being fired and the chief to step down. 69 News learned the animal policy for this jurisdiction is to only shoot when an animal is attacking someone or a threat to the area, not if it’s injured.
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