A young Sudbury boy is mourning the loss of his beloved cat after a frightening incident last week when an unknown assailant shot the feline.
Joleen Moffatt said she heard as many as four shots on the night of July 13, although other witnesses say they heard three. It wasn't until the next morning when they found out that Shadow, her son Zac's three-year-old cat, had been hit by one of the bullets.
"I was sitting here alone, watching TV and I heard the gunshots," Moffatt said Monday. "I actually called 911, because they sounded like they were right in the backyard. At the time I didn't know it was Shadow."
She turned off all the lights in her Fairview Avenue apartment and waited. At the same time, around 10:30 p.m., her husband, Darryl Morin, was walking home from a friend's house and heard the shots as well.
"The cops drove by right away, but I guess they didn't find anything," Moffatt said.
They later went outside, but didn't see anything unusual. But the next morning around 11, they saw blood on their steps and on the side of the building.
“I went down the street and there were cops standing there," Morin said. "I told them what happened and they came up."
Moffatt said police didn't know at the time it was animal blood, and sealed off the area in case there was a human victim and called in the forensics team.
"Sometime during the investigation, Shadow came out from behind the bush, and they realized it was him,” she said. “His bottom jaw was completely gone, but he was still alive.
"It was so sad. I said his name, and he tried to get up, but couldn't. He tried to meow, but couldn't."
SPCA picked up the injured cat and took him away.
"We received a call later that he had been euthanized," Moffatt said. "One of the officers said it looked like he had been shot right in the face."
While Zac, 9, now has a new kitten, Moffatt said her son was deeply affected by the incident. He erected a makeshift cross in the backyard in memory of Shadow, and wrote messages on it about how much he will miss him.
"We had him since he was born," Zac said. "He would cuddle with me and play with me sometimes. Whenever I watched a movie, I'd bring him with me to watch."
"That cat was his security blanket,” Moffatt said. “That's what makes it so hard. He doesn't understand. Shadow was his best friend."
The family has no idea why someone would do this. They have gotten along well with their neighbours since moving into the apartment a year ago, she said, and haven't received any complaints.
"The officer asked us if we had any enemies, but no ... we've never had any problems,” she said. “We keep to ourselves, and the neighbours right around here, we have great neighbours."
No bullet was located, police told Sudbury.com on July 15, but they are still investigating and urge anyone with information to contact police or Sudbury Rainbow Crimestoppers at 705-222-TIPS (8477) or by texting TIP267 to CRIMES (274637).
Moffatt said they found what looks like a blood stain on a nearby road, and they suspect it's where the shooting took place.
In addition to how it affects her son, she said it's unsettling to know someone in the area could do something similar again. "That's what scares me most, there's someone around here with a gun," she said.