LEWISTON — Police are investigating who shot a cat in the spine before the Horton Street pet managed to drag his limp body back home.

Alex was shot last week and paralyzed in his hind legs. Submitted photo

Alex, a black, long-haired cat, was paralyzed by the projectile, believed to be a bullet or pellet, police said.

The 2½-year-old cat had been missing for more than four days.

Amber Smith, who got Alex when he was 7 weeks old, said she let him out after work Sunday night, June 2. He did not come home that night, nor the next.

She and her boyfriend, Khamaree Hall, searched the neighborhood for Alex, calling his name and asking neighbors.

Smith had feared Alex had been hit by a car due to his casual attitude about crossing the street.

“I was really worried about him,” she said. “We were just desperately trying to find him.”

At 1:30 a.m. the following Friday, Hall was about to walk Smith’s 12-year-old black lab, Lady, when he looked out the window of their first-floor apartment.

Propped on his front legs, his hind legs stretched out behind him, was Alex, patiently waiting at the bottom of the front steps to the building.

Hall woke Smith and leaped out a nearby window to scoop up Alex and bring him inside. He laid Alex gently on a blanket on their bed in an effort to make him comfortable. He did not appear to be in pain, Hall said.

The hair and skin on top of Alex’s back paws was scraped bare, Smith said.

“That’s how far he dragged himself to get home,” she said.

He was thin, except for his stomach, which was bloated from having no control over his bladder or bowels.

Alex, who was paralyzed after he was shot in the spine, lost use of his hind legs. Submitted photo

“It was horrible seeing him in that condition,” she said.

Alex ate a can of cat food, then slept.

Later that morning, they took him to a veterinary hospital, where his injuries were assessed.

An X-ray showed a projectile lodged in Alex’s spine.

Smith asked if it was a BB. The veterinary doctor told her it was a bullet.

They discussed options.

An x-ray of Alex shows where a projectile was lodged in the cat’s spine. Photo provided by Amber Smith

“If I had money, if I was rich, I would have paid for surgery and wheelchair and all that,” she said.

Smith stayed with Alex. He purred, extended his paw.

“He was tired,” she said. “He was weak. It was heartbreaking.”

Alex was euthanized and buried in the yard of a neighbor, whose cats Alex would visit on his daily rounds.

Smith’s three young children ask everyday where Alex is. They had not seen him after he was injured. She has told them Alex has died.

Smith said she is baffled by what has happened.

“It’s a very kid-friendly area,” she said, noting they live next to an elementary school.

“People aren’t out here shooting animals,” she said. “It surprised me. It’s the last thing I expected.”

Police are investigating.

Whether Alex was shot with a bullet or a pellet, Lt. David St. Pierre said “either one obviously caused the cat’s demise, so it’s still aggravated cruelty to animals,” a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Lewiston’s animal control officer is canvassing the neighborhood for anyone who may have seen something or knows something, St. Pierre said.

Smith said she did not know why anyone would want to harm Alex.

“I really just need some answers,” she said. “I need to know who shot him, why they shot him, you know. It just doesn’t make sense at all.”

Her family is offering a reward to anyone with information leading to the conviction of the person or people responsible for the shooting, she said.

Police are urging anyone with information to call Wendell Strout at (207) 513-3001, Ext. 6322, or St.Pierre at Ext. 3323.

 

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