A Lebanon, Ohio couple’s cat, named Haze, didn’t come home last Friday. On Saturday, unbeknownst to the owners, Haze turned up in a neighbor’s yard and appeared to be sick or injured. The neighbor planned to knock on doors in the neighborhood to try and find out where the cat lived but before she could do that, another family member called the local police. An officer responded to the call, shot Haze to death in the neighbor’s yard and the family member dropped him in the garbage can.
When the owners, Dori and Randall Stone, found out what had happened the next day, they rushed to the neighbor’s house:
“We love our cats, do you know what it was like to pull your pet out of the garbage can and then pull him out of the garbage bag and his head is bloody with a bullet hole in it?” [Mrs. Stone] said. “It’s so violent that they did this to our animal and made no effort to call the humane society or find his owners.”
The city not only stands behind the actions of the police officer, a spokesman says the brutal killing complies with departmental policy:
The police policy manual states that the animal will be destroyed where it is located if it is safe to do so and under no circumstances is an officer to transport the animal in a city vehicle.
The JournalNews reports that the policy appears to be illegal:
The policy, however, appears to violate Ohio Revised Code. Cats are one of a number of animals protected by the code that says no one shall “maliciously, or willfully and without consent of the owner” injure animals. The violation is a first-degree misdemeanor.
Haze’s owners would like to see the policy changed:
“Something needs to done, if this is common practice it needs to be changed,” Dori Stone said. “My husband and I have not eaten since Sunday morning. We are just sick. We close our eyes at night and see his little face and to think as good of care we took of him for almost seven years, these were his last moments and that was the way he had to die, it’s unbearable.”
There is a county humane society and a county dog warden but neither respond to calls about stray cats.