Maitland woman's cat shot to death in her backyard

Police now investigating animal cruelty case

MAITLAND, Fla. – Daina Matte and her boyfriend were in the living room Saturday afternoon when they heard meows of agony in their backyard.

Matte's cat Diem had just been shot.

"I will never get that noise out of my head. It was just horrible," Matte said. "She made it to the glass door because she saw us, and we were afraid to open it because we didn't know what was going on. That's when she just collapsed right there."

At first, Matte said, she thought 4-year-old Diem was attacked by an animal. Matte said it wasn't until later that the vet called to tell her the cat was killed by the hands of a human with a gun. The bullet hit Diem's hips and traveled through her kidneys and other organs.

"The scariest part was when I got the phone call that she had been shot, because at that point, you would never think that something like that could happen to you," Matte said. "You want to think you are safe in your house and you are safe with your animals in your own backyard. The bullet could have hit our house or us."

She hopes whoever did this is found soon, not only because she's afraid for her other two cats and the other animals in her Dommerich Estates neighborhood, but she's afraid of what this person could do next.

"When something dies of natural causes, that's the circle of life. That is what happens," she said. "But when somebody goes out of their way to take your pet from you, I just wonder what kind of sick individual would do that. Are we dealing with a psychopath? Like, who are our neighbors?"

Maitland police confirmed to News 6 officers are investigating the case. If you have any information on who may have killed Diem, call the CrimeLine at 800-423-TIPS.