Teresa Folse and her husband Roger were just arriving home from dinner on the evening of Jan. 17 when they horrified to find their family cat, Harley, on the floor of their bedroom and suffering from a puncture wound.
“She was bleeding out,” Folse said. “We rushed her to the vet … we didn’t know if she had been bitten, or had been in a fight. We had no idea.”
Nothing could be done to save Harley, affectionately nicknamed “Littles” by the family of four. But it wasn’t a bite or a skirmish that fatally wounded Harley: she had been shot by a pellet gun, as the veterinarian’s X-ray revealed.
“They said judging from the entry wound, she’d been shot at close proximity, or they pumped the pellet gun up pretty high,” Folse said. “It went through her abdomen and it did too much damage. There was no way to save her. They had to put her to sleep then.”
The question now haunting the Luling woman and her family is simply, why?
Folse said Harley would come and go from the family’s pet door, but wasn’t one to wander far from their Evelyn Drive residence. The fact she, while wounded, was able to make it back inside the home indicates to Folse that this time was no different, and she believes the incident took place very nearby.
Harley was Folse’s cat for the past 10 years. She was very much a true part of this family.
“We’re all taking it pretty hard,” said Folse, noting also her two daughters ages 16 and 13 who have grown up with Harley. “We’re used to hearing noises at night and we know it’s her. We hear her scratch on the door in the morning, and that’s her letting us know to let her in for breakfast. We had that routine. We’d fix her breakfast and she’d go out about her day, lay outside in the yard and watch the neighbors go by.”
Harley was not one to annoy or be a nuisance to anyone. She wasn’t one to go up to strangers, and was “more skittish” when encountered with a stranger than anything else.
“She would run,” Folse said. “It’s one reason why it’s so unusual. I know she couldn’t have been a nuisance to anyone.”
After arriving home from the veterinarian, the family contacted police to report the incident.
“The Sheriff’s Office was here in 15 minutes, and they were great about everything. We filed a report,” Folse said. “They explained that cats do roam (making it difficult to narrow down a location) but this was an older cat who had been fixed. She doesn’t roam that far. She probably went down two houses at the most. I don’t know if there were kids in the neighborhood with a pellet gun for Christmas or someone who just doesn’t like cats.
“It’s fairly quiet over here. There’s not a lot of traffic coming through. It’s really scary to think we could have that kind of sick person in this neighborhood, who would do something like this.”
She put out word of the incident on social media and she said she hopes by making people aware of the incident, it can perhaps bring new information to light, or at the very least prevent this from happening to anyone else.
“Maybe if the person who did this sees that people are on the lookout, they won’t do it again,” Folse said.
But her family’s loss is real, and painful.
“You don’t expect to ever walk in and find this,” Folse said. “It’s completely different from an animal passing away of old age. It’s mixed emotions of pain, unhappiness and also a lot of anger.”