She shot her husband dead because he was beating the family cat

Northeast Dallas, USA: Forty-seven year old Mrs Mary Harrison admitted that she shot her husband, 49-year-old Dexter Harrison, dead because he was beating the family cat. They recently moved to the neighborhood. Neighbors said that she seemed incapable of murder. A neighbor interviewed on camera said that they were good people. The family cat had recently been lost and found.

She shot her husband dead because he was beating the family cat
She admitted it to the police when they arrived.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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A letter from a cat owner to the person who shot her cat

Comment: For me it is the ultimate sacrifice in protecting her cat. One can’t condone it but I can understand it. In fact I admire her for actions. I genuinely do.

There was almost certainly some background tension in this marriage which spilled over when her husband was beating the cat. She obviously loves cats. The cat had recently been lost and found as I understand it. Perhaps she was pleased the cat was back home and for some inexplicable reason the husband was abusing the cat (punishing the cat for getting lost?). I would suggest that she cracked, the red mist descended and as a gun was available, as it often is in America, she used it against her husband perhaps to stop him beating the family cat. Would you, could you do this?

Where it happened
Where it happened

However, we don’t know whether she used the weapon to stop him beating the cat. Perhaps she was trying to stop him and not to actually kill him. This will be her defense I suspect. She has been charged with murder and should be remanded into custody until the trial. Her life has been shattered. She has now lost her cat anyway because she won’t be able to live in her home unless she gets bail. In the UK she wouldn’t. I’d expect her cat will be taken to a rescue center and I hope that he or she is re-homed quickly. I hope the cat has not been seriously hurt by Mr Harrison.

It would be nice if someone could look after her cat until they can meet again.


I would suggest that her defense is either that she was provoked or she temporarily suffering from diminished responsibility and that she did not have an intention to kill her husband but to simply stop him beating the cat by injuring him (a lack of mental intent – mens rea).

She may just get away with a reduced sentence on the basis of these potential defenses. It is the ultimate sacrifice in terms of animal welfare. I don’t think she was thinking about that. She was probably thinking about stopping the cat abuse because she couldn’t stand it any more. It is possible that the husband had done something similar in the past and she cracked.

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16 thoughts on “She shot her husband dead because he was beating the family cat”

  1. Would I, could I use extreme force against a person beating the family cat to save that cat? Without any doubt, yes. I’ve often imagined and asked myself what I would do in situations. As I walk my cats down the street to the park, I have to pass neighbors who are not accepting of it… some to the point of allowing their dogs to chase my cats. One, Einstein is on his last legs and I’ll do anything I have to to ensure his safety and quality of life. Egregious people who wish us to be, allow us to be or cause us to be harmed will wish they hadn’t, if they survive. Yes, the U.S. people like their guns and freedoms, and as long as it’s a level field, I won’t be the first to surrender and I’ll protect my companions. No one else will.

  2. Mr. Broad, I did as you asked and posted 23 links from “google” describing occurrences of cat-vectored murine typhus. Not only have you not responded, you haven’t published my post. I wasn’t rude to you nor did I insult you. So what, may I ask, is the reason for your remaining silent, and for silencing me?

    • I never saw your comment. The website has anti-spam software Akismet. Comments that contain a lot of links (as spam comments do) are placed in a spam folder. Every day hundreds and even thousands of comments are placed there. I delete them all without checking because Akismet is very accurate but occasionally (rarely) makes a mistake. Your comment was seen as spam and deleted. Sorry, I believe in freedom of speech but spam is horrendously prevalent. You’ll have to do it differently. Suggestion: open a Google docs account and create a webpage where you place the links. Write a comment and place one link in it to the Google Docs webpage.

  3. Yes, an increasing tendency among white people is to value domestic animals’ lives over peoples’. We see it in so-called “TNR colony caretakers” every day. This woman is only a (relatively) extreme example. Anyone who publicly expresses opposition to the proliferation of unconfined cats, or even publishes research which is perceived as “unflattering” to cats, routinely receives death-threats on social media.

    Just last month a San Diego woman came down with murine typhus from her unconfined “pet” cat, a potentially deadly disease transmitted via fleas from rodents to cats and dogs–and thence to people. The County Health Dept. is urging people to keep their cats and dogs indoors to be safe from possible typhus infection. A little late for that. There are so many feral cat colonies in San Diego County the only place where it’s possible to even see a LIZARD any more is in areas where native coyotes suppress the cat population.

    These colonies are walking petri dishes of disease. As the presence of murine typhus has now been confirmed here, we may well see an outbreak of murine typhus. Unconfined cats attract rodents, as does the food left out for them by irresponsible people, thus providing a link from rodents to cats to humans. And that is but one of over three-dozen potentially fatal zoonotic diseases carried by unconfined cats, including rabies, tularemia, bartonellosis, toxoplasmosis, toxocariasis, MRSA and plague, to name but a few.

    Thus when last month I caught my white neighbor demonstrating her utter disregard for my six and four year-old grandchildren’s health and safety by allowing her (indoor/outdoor) cats to defecate in my grandchildren’s play area behind our house, I flew into a rage, and told her that if she’s too lazy to clean a litter-box, she had no right to use MY yard as one. I also very sternly warned her it had better never happen again. I have been watching since then, and so far she seems to have kept her cats inside.

    • At least you didn’t use insults and at least you weren’t rude to me. For that reason I have published your comment.

      Firstly, is there any reason why some people should not value cats as equal to humans? Do humans have to have a superior value to those of other animals? Is it automatic that the value of humans is higher than that of animals including cats? I don’t think so. But you find it bizarre and mad that a person can value the life of a cat over a human. However, this woman might not have valued the life of her cat higher than that of her husband. She might have had a temporary complete loss of self-control because of years of abuse. We don’t know.

      You portray an image of the human race being extinguished from this planet by diseases transmitted to us by feral and stray cats such as murine typhus. You see the feral cat as being a harbinger of disease and nothing else. You are disgusted by it. You are fearful of it. Perhaps it is your fear which colors your thoughts and creates the bias that you so obviously have against the domestic and feral cat.

      I suppose you have not considered the diseases spread by humans to other humans and made a comparison. And while I’m writing, could you please tell me how many cats have transmitted murine typhus to humans? Please produce a full scientific study reference to support what you say.

        • The document doesn’t say anything new. I does not answer the question. How prevalent are the transmissions from cat to human with respect to murine typhus? And how do they compare to human to human infections.

      • PS: in answer to your question, the entire North American population of feral cats is not worth one child’s eyesight.

          • Not just my opinion. If you believe otherwise, please quote a body of law from any country in the world which defines the crime of murder as involving ANY other species than Homo sapiens, either as perpetrator or victim. Had the man killed the cat, he wouldn’t have been charged with murder. For killing the man, his wife was so charged.

            That’s how it should be, the “opinions” of people who value cats over human children’s notwithstanding. My family lived under Jim Crow Arkansas, and therefore knew full well what it’s like to live in a society which valued the domestic animals’ lives over humans’. Never again.

            • It is a matter of personal opinion if animals such as cats have an equal value to humans. In law animals are of less value. In general animals are considered to have less value. That is not the point. I am discussing basic principles and some people see cats as equals to humans. The law is often behind human sentiments and opinion.

  4. I am happy to see the offers to help the cat. I hope she has a crack team of lawyers and only a gentle tap on the wrist is administered.

    I don’t condone violence, really I don’t but this woman has done a service to cats and all other species – there is one less animal abuser in the world.

    If that offends, it offends. Cats and women are killed, psychologically & physically abused, controlled, tortured, imprisoned and live in terror every day in domestic violence situations. It can go on for years, unseen by the outside world.

    • I would hope that she has a good lawyer but it is unlikely, I am afraid. She lives in an apartment I think (a duplex) and I’d guess she does not have the means to hire a good lawyer sadly.


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