Fire Officer Who Allegedly Shot Lost Cat

airport_2x via christine westerback

Target: Douglas F. Kish, Chief of Police, Catasauqua Police Department

Goal: Fire officer for shooting a cat and throwing its body in a garbage can.

A police officer shot and killed a pet cat he was tasked to help find, alleges a distraught homeowner who called the police after his cat escaped from his home. Owner Tom Newhart claims that he called his borough police department’s non-emergency line after repeated searches for his missing orange tabby cat, Sugar, were unsuccessful. A neighbor later saw the cat and called the police to notify them of the cat’s location.

According to the neighbor, the officer poked and prodded at the cat but made little effort to coax it from its hiding spot. The officer then claimed that Sugar was injured and needed to be put down. He then shot her on the spot before throwing her corpse into a nearby garbage can. An autopsy that was conducted before the cat was cremated had cited no visible injury. In a report made after the incident, Officer Leighton Pursell claimed that the cat hissed at him, showing aggression.

Though the District Attorney’s office is conducting an investigation into these claims, the officer has been allowed to continue work as usual, despite the general tendency to suspend any officer involved in a pending investigation involving a shooting. In order to provide justice to Sugar and her owner, it is imperative that this officer not be allowed to continue work with no reprimand. Sign the petition below to demand that Officer Leighton Pursell is placed on administrative leave until after the investigation and that, if found guilty, he is fired.


Dear Chief Kish,

Complaints have been filed against Officer Leighton Pursell after he allegedly killed a cat he was supposed to help rescue. He was dispatched to help retrieve a family pet that had been reported missing earlier but made little effort to actually rescue the cat. After claiming the cat was injured and aggressive, the officer shot it and placed its corpse in a nearby garbage can.

This behavior was not only shockingly callous toward the cat but was in blatant disregard of the safety and well-being of the public. While it is customary to place an officer on leave after a shooting, Purcell has continued his job without any administrative action. We, the undersigned, demand that you provide justice to the cat and its owner by firing the officer responsible for Sugar’s death.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Christine Westerback

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  1. sandra mason says:

    really dude? a cat?? you’re afraid of a cat??? you’re a bigger pussy than the cat! I hope people hate you forever.

  2. Cecily Colloby says:

    What kind of gutless idiot was this policeman??? The poor cat hissed at him so he shot it??? This bastard should be shot himself -he’s clearly a danger to all living things and should be disposed of. RIP Sugar.

  3. OMG, what a pathetic subhuman saying the cat hissed at him, are you for REAL? lets recall what actually happened, firstly the cop was poking at the cat who was probably scared, confused, and even if the cat hissed at him for poking and prodding at him, it does not give him justification to shoot the pet cat who was loved by his owner and who the cop was supposed to find and return to his owner safely. I am so sick and tired of heartless, inhumane, cruel and disgusting human beings such as cops who shoot hundreds of dogs and now cats for no valid reason. It is not their place nor do they have the right to shoot any pet dog or cat on their own property or anywhere for that matter before trying everything in their power to reassure the set dog or cat and showing the animal they do not have to fear them, but obviously this cop did not care less about the feelings of the owner, or the rights of the cat to be returned safely to his owner. This copy is a bloody disgrace to his uniform and to the police department who again have not taken the appropriate action/process to remove this cop from his duties as he has murdered a family pet, then had the gaul to throw the pet cat into a dumpster. What a low life. The police department need to make their cops accountable for their appauling, cruel, neglectful and abusive actions to family pets as they are taking liberties as a supposed cop by killing any pet just for the hell of it. They do not deserve to wear a badge as they are insulting the laws in which they are meant to be abiding, following to the enth degree and behaving in an appropriate manner, showing respect, care, decency but this cop chose not to and therefore should be punished severely for his heinous act. Punish this cop immediately, he should not be still working after killing the pet cat. He must be fined, jailed and lose his job until the court proceedings have been held. Another cop with anger management problems, who must feel weak, spineless and have to take it out on a weak helpless cat, dog or even a child. We do not need animal abusers who do not stand for or represent justice, fairness and law and order in our country especially as he did not show a duty of care for the cat by comforting the cat, reassuring the cat and then taking the cat home to his owner safe and sound. There is no excuse for what he did. Sack him immediately.

  4. If Sugar had been my cat, that cop would already be dead for what he did to my FAMILY MEMBER. Failing that, this yahoo OBVIOUSLY needs firing for the outright MURDER of a citizen’s cat, then an attempted cover-up.

    Lesson to everyone — never trust or call upon the police. Do your OWN searching and due diligence to find your missing animal. And stop allowing your animals to go outside and wander around UNSUPERVISED BY YOU! Build them a fabulous, enriched, and safe outdoor shelter (only used WHEN YOU’RE HOME), put “cat fencing” up to keep cats in their yards, and/or BE WITH THEM AT ALL TIMES. It really is mainly YOUR responsibility to keep them safe at all times.

  5. Sophia Coleman says:

    Why didn’t this cop call Animal Control or the owner to come rescue the cat instead of poking it and provoking a “hissing” from the cat. What a life-threatening situation for this poor cop! Common sense would dictate that the terrified cat needed a person trained in animal rescue to retrieve this pet. SMH

  6. michael guest says:

    Enough is enough! I’m sick and tired of officers killing animals. Not just dogs, but also cats like this one! He should be ashamed. This should be a crime of animal cruelty. Makes me so angry! There still needs to be stronger laws passed to stop this unnecessary force. Fire this officer from his job now! And stop shooting our beloved pets!

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