On May 17, my husband discovered our 1-year-old cat in our back yard with a serious wound.
Oscar was wailing, reaching out for us to help him. Despite a useless leg, he somehow had been able to make his way home. We had no idea what had happened, so we took Oscar to the veterinarian. X-rays showed a .22-caliber bullet lodged in his chest and lead fragments within the shattered bone of his leg. The bullet had narrowly missed Oscar’s heart.
He was such a friendly cat, he probably looked right at whoever shot him and started to walk toward the person. How unfortunate for him that he was not afraid of strangers.
He had a bright blue collar that was easily visible against the white fur on his neck. It was obvious he was someone’s pet.
Not knowing how serious the wounds were, I promised my 3- and 4-year-old children that the vet would make Oscar better. If I had had any inkling that I would not be bringing him home again, I would have given my children the chance to say goodbye.
We could not afford $400 to fix Oscar’s shattered leg. The hardest thing I ever have had to do was to try to explain to my two children why their kitty did not come home.
Four-year-old Bryan is telling me, “Mommy, when someone shoots me, I will be put in the ground.” And, “Maybe a soldier did it; they have guns.” Danielle, 3, says she doesn’t want Oscar “up there” in heaven because he might “fall down here and get hurt.” What someone did in a fleeting moment has snowballed into a mountain of questions and issues that my husband and I were not prepared to deal with.
I am appalled at our laws, which say it is legal to shoot any animal on your property here in the heavily populated but unincorporated areas of Stevens County. I am very concerned that it is legal to shoot a gun here in Suncrest. The bullet of a .22-caliber rifle can travel up to a mile. What if this person had missed Oscar? Or what if the bullet had passed through him and continued on its way?
Must we wait until an innocent person is shot before the laws are changed? We don’t live in the wild West anymore. We are civilized and should be able to deal with one another in a more rational way. We have at least 3,000 homes out here, with plat approval for hundreds more. It’s time we came into the ‘90s and behaved like civilized people.
MEMO: “Your turn” is a feature of the Wednesday and Saturday Opinion pages. To submit a “Your turn” column for consideration, contact Rebecca Nappi at 459-5496 or Doug Floyd at 459-5466 or write “Your turn,” The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane 99210-1615.
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