In emergency surgery, vets find small bullets inside cat

Vet finds bullets in family cat

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A violent act on a family's pet has a family concerned over their community's safety.

An emergency visit to the Vet's office last night left one local woman stunned, hearing her cat had actually been shot. Now, Heidi Barca's concern isn't just for her cat, but also for the safety of her community.

Wednesday evening, Barca heard her cat Roman yelping in pain.

"I found him over here by the deck in the pine straw. I guess he just tried to make it home 'cause he knew we'd take care of him," recalls Heidi Barca, the owner of Roman the cat.

Finding her cat bleeding in the bushes, Heidi Barca rushed her family's feline to the vet. She thought he was hit by a car, bitten by a snake, or had gotten into a fight with another animal. But it wasn't bite marks the Vet found. It was small bullets.

"One of them was in his chest, another in his abdomen," explains Ross Larson, an associate veterinarian with the VCA Palmetto Animal Hospital who operated on Roman.

It was surprising to everyone to find the two small bullets inside of the family's feline.

"He did have a hole going into his chest, which can cause problems breathing," Larson explains.

Roman was given only a 50/50 chance of surviving the surgery. The cat is now recovering but will still have the two small bullets inside of him, according to vets with the VCA Palmetto Animal Hospital.

While Roman is recovering, Barca is still worrying.

"If they're shooting a cat, and they have a gun who is to say they can't shoot somebody else? What if a child had been walking by and they shot the child?" expresses Barca.

She's never had problems in the past and says her neighbors are friendly.

"There's always children outside playing, you're never afraid to be outside at night. Everyone helps each other and we just have really great neighbors," she says.

However, she is afraid someone acting violent towards a family pet could become even more violent.

"Animal abuse is one steps towards other abuse late on in years," she worries.

While filing a police report, an officer told Barca it is illegal to shoot an animal on your property unless that animal is causing you harm. She hopes the shooter is caught and will face animal cruelty charges.

"To me it's abusing a gun. A gun is a privilege and to use it to shoot an innocent animal is just terribly wrong," says Barca.

Vets say it is impossible to know how many pets fall victim to similar shot wounds because not all of them can make it home in time to get help.

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