On social media, there is a plea for help from a homeowner whose new neighbours are shooting outdoor cats with BB guns and the police won’t do anything about it – “Our new neighbors are shooting the outdoor cats with bb guns. Police aren’t doing anything. Who can I contact to fight this?”. This is America where they have BB guns. The UK equivalent are airguns. They can kill cats but normally they injure them. I am not going to show you an injured cat, but I’ve done a montage which I think is acceptable. Take it from me that the injuries are nasty and depending upon where the pellet hits it can be serious. Often the perpetrators of these crimes shoot several pellets into an individual cat.
The next point is that it does not surprise me that the local police force operating in the area where this person lives are disinterested. It seems to me that there is a trend worldwide for police to de-prioritise crimes concerning animal abuse and cruelty. Perhaps they’re too busy or perhaps they just don’t care but it can be very frustrating and depressing frankly for any decent person and particularly animal advocates when the police refuse to do their job.
So, what can you do instead? It depends upon where you live. I guess that that is obvious. In the UK there is the RSPCA who prosecute crimes of animal abuse and you could certainly telephone them, and they should respond (no guarantees). In America, it seems that the best advice on that this social media website is to “first try any local news agency and see if they are willing to take a piece on the police not doing anything about animal cruelty”.
The advice, then, is to go to local newspapers to try and publicise the problem both the issue of the crime and of the failure of police to investigate. This is an act of desperation, but it might work.
In addition to that you could try spreading the news around social media. You can choose all the usual social media sites such as TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. Those are the big four in my opinion. This would be a version of public shaming which can sometimes be very effective. It may be more effective if you choose a Facebook group which is concerned with animal abuse and which has some clout.
The next thing you could do is to do some investigative work yourself. If the neighbour doing the shooting is living very close to you it might be possible to identify the individual who is doing it using a bit of judicious spy work. You can then take photographs and capture video and present it to the police. That might encourage them to do something. You could set up camera trap cameras in the area and see if you can capture the crime on video.
Perhaps this might frighten you, but I think it is a good method to take the matter forward. If you can provide the police with some evidence, it may help. It may not because if the police are turned off and asleep almost nothing can wake them up.
In America most municipalities have some sort of animal control officer who could be contacted. Animal control officers are very common in America. You might also contact the ASPCA or PETA. PETA has some clout. They may be able to publicise the matter and use leverage to get the police to do something.
One problem in America is that the legality or otherwise of shooting at cats depends upon the legislation of the area in which you live. The point is this: as I recall it is not illegal under certain circumstances to shoot feral cats in some places in America. But how do you know what is feral and what is domestic? And because guns are far more prevalent in America there seems to be a much more relaxed view on using guns against “vermin” and “pests”. Feral cats are regarded as either of these two by a significant section of society in America. So, I’m sure that many cat shooters get away with it even if it is a crime and this is probably one reason why the police are disinterested.
There is one obvious point that comes to mind, and it does not concern catching the criminal. It concerns finding out which cats are being shot and who owns them. You can then go to the owner and have a chat with them and advise them to keep their cats inside the home full-time along modern lines. You can advise them to build a catio or a cat enclosure in their backyard. Anything to keep the cats in and to stop these horrible people shooting at them.
The point is this: when the police are disinterested the citizens are on their own. They have to do what they can to resolve the problem which means protecting cats. All means should be on the table and the best means is to take proactive steps to take away the opportunity to shoot at pet cats.
And even if this person is shooting feral cats, it doesn’t make any difference in my view. It is still animal cruelty, and it is still a crime at least technically but in practice the police might not regard shooting feral cats as a crime because they interpret the law in a sloppy way.
P.S. There is or was a notorious bird loving ornithologist to took it upon himself to shoot feral cats with a .22 calibre rifle. His name is Woodsman001 (Jim Stevenson). He lives in Galveston. I tracked him down. He did or probably still does guided tours for bird twitchers i.e., bird lovers and observers. Little did they know that he was shooting cats and didn’t care whether he was shooting someone’s pet or not. You can read about them by clicking on this link.
Below are some pages on shooting feral cats.