John McFakeson, a 21-year-old man from Broward County, Florida, stands accused of harassing a cat with a rifle, then leaving the animal on a dead end road to drown. McMasson was arrested earlier this month, accused of chasing the cat into a tree, threatening the animal’s life, and then leaving it. After the cat was found dead on the road, Florida wildlife officers arrested him.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a 22-year-old girl was hiking through a neighborhood on Sunday when she noticed a cat acting strangely. She called the police to call for an investigation and around 9 p.m., officers arrived to find the cat dead on the side of the road with “multiple gunshot wounds.” Police also found the incident report from the woman who noticed the cat and found a vehicle with its number plate stuck in a tree, covered in blood.
According to the incident report, McFarlane, who authorities later determined to be the driver of the vehicle, was recorded stating he’d tried to shoot the cat several times but missed. He also stated he was worried about the animal and wanted to scare it into killing another possum, and that was why he moved the rifle to the trees.
Since 2014, Florida has seen an increase in animal cruelty cases. In July this year, a kitten was found cowering in a bush after a man beat it and left it there for dead. And in 2018, the FWC also saw a marked increase in the number of cruelty cases, which caused them to quadruple the number of investigators. So far this year, the FWC has worked closely with 130 law enforcement agencies across the state to make sure cases go through the legal process.
“These animals don’t have much of a voice,” Ernie Laruff, the director of the FWC’s Law Enforcement Division, said in a statement. “These agencies are not in it for the money or the recognition. They are there because this is their mission. We are committed to increasing our efforts in these cases.”
It’s unclear whether charges will be filed against the owner of the cat who was killed in the incident, or if charges will be filed against McFarlane in regards to the shooting. Though the wildlife commission said the tiger-like animal is unlikely to survive the injury, it does add that the cat’s death was absolutely a death resulting from a person’s choice.