19 August 2005

Archer's Story...

Kitten Shot with Arrow

The 11/2-pound stray underwent surgery. Tarpon Springs police are investigating.
Published August 18, 2005

TARPON SPRINGS - The kitten wobbled among a group of strays as Kathy Powers laid out breakfast Thursday morning.

The black-and-white cat stood out, tiny, 11/2 pounds, a little lost.

Powers, 44, co-owner of a sign-manufacturing business, moved closer.

A footlong arrow pierced the kitten's midsection, so close to the heart that the shaft moved with each beat.

When Powers tried to scoop it up, the 9-week-old kitten ran. It tried to slip through a fence, but the ends of the arrow held it back.

"For God's sake, it's just a little kitten," Powers said. "How can anyone justify doing that?"

The kitten, since nicknamed Archer, underwent surgery to remove the arrow Thursday afternoon. Doctors found the arrow had fractured a rib, punctured a lung and sliced through the liver, said Rick Chaboudy, director of the Humane Society of Pinellas.

"Still, this kitten has a strong will to live," Chaboudy said.

Meanwhile, Tarpon Springs police were searching Thursday for whoever shot the cat. The shooter used a hand-held crossbow, a pistol-type weapon often used for target practice.

Detectives planned to dust the arrow for fingerprints. But they are worried recent rain showers might have washed away clues, Sgt. Jeff Young said.

Powers set out the food for the neighborhood strays about 5:30 a.m. Thursday, shortly after arriving at her shop, Tropic Sign and Shirts on Wesley Avenue.

First, she noticed the arrow's yellow feathers, thinking it was tape stuck on the kitten's fur. Then, she discovered the other end.

"I couldn't believe it," said Powers, who called police and took the kitten to Palm Harbor Animal Hospital. She plans to adopt Archer if he survives. "I want him back."

Chaboudy said the surgery, performed at Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists in Largo, was successful and the cat's chances for recovering are good.

"Given the size of the kitten and the size of the arrow, the kitty's doing very well," he said. "But it's very critical during the first night."

Owners who abandon pets to the streets make them targets for cars, coyotes, poisons and, in Archer's case, arrows, Chaboudy said.

Though Archer is unavailable, Chaboudy urged people to adopt unwanted pets in honor of him.

"There is only one Archer, but all of our shelters are absolutely loaded with cats and kittens," he said.


Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Tarpon Springs Police Department's Detective Division at (727) 938-2849.

-- Jacob H. Fries can be reached at 445-4156 or jfries@sptimes.com


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