LAKE HELEN, Fla. - A Lake Helen man who admitted to police that he shot his neighbor's cats because they were leaving droppings in his yard has been arrested for felony animal cruelty.
Andrew Straley, 34, told officers he often shot at the cats with a pellet gun but was not trying to kill them, only scare them, according to a police report.
[PICS: Cats shot by neighbor]
One of the wounded cats was euthanized Monday because its owners could not afford the surgery needed to remove a pellet lodged in its abdomen and treat its broken knee. Another cat, which was either shot or caught in an animal trap, had most of its tail amputated by a veterinarian.
"I'm still shocked that I have a cat that is no longer with us, and I have a cat that is missing about 8 to 10 inches of its tail," said Mark Scanlan, whose family had raised the 10-month-old cats from birth.
On Saturday, during his daughter's 13th birthday party, Scanlan said he noticed his bloody and wounded cats limping away from Straley's home across the street.
"I went over to the neighbor and asked if he had shot the cat by chance," said Scanlan. "He admitted to it and said, 'I have every right to. It's in my yard.'"
When police questioned Straley, he reportedly told them he was tired of the cats leaving feces in his yard. The Scanlans said their neighbor never complained to them about any problems.
"How do you look at your neighbor and wave at them when you know you've been shooting their animals?," asked Theresa Scanlan.
Straley, who works for the city of Lake Helen's water department, told Local 6 he was instructed not to comment about his arrest.
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