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Update: Cat shot on Pine Island likely blinded in one eye

By Staff | Dec 20, 2011

Blizzard, a Pine Island cat shot twice, has likely lost half his vision and may also lose his injured eye.

Pine Island Animal Clinic Associate Veterinarian Eileen Rowan said the bullet missed his right eye by half of an inch. She said the bullet entered under his eye and fractured some of the bone under his cheekbone, which caused a great deal of bleeding.

“There is so much bleeding in his eye,” she said. “There is so much bleeding.”

The swelling also made it hard for Blizzard to open his mouth, which improved on Tuesday.

Blizzard’s owner received a phone call from her son on Dec. 19 to tell her that their domestic cat was found under their car bleeding from his head, eye and nose due to a bullet wound.

Lori DePalma, who lives on Thomas Street, said her cat, Blizzard, was shot twice.

“Yesterday morning my neighbor thought she heard three shots,” she said Tuesday morning.

Hope Stubbs, a neighbor of DePalma said she heard what sounded like three gunshots between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m.

“It could have been pellet shots, I don’t know,” she said. “Someone is shooting something very early in the morning.”

Although Stubbs is not sure where the gunshots are coming from, she said it sounds like it is coming from the the street behind her residence, Birdsong.

Anywhere between six to seven days ago, Stubbs said she also heard two shots from the same direction.

“Definitely someone shooting over here,” she said. “I don’t know what they are shooting, but they are shooting something.”

DePalma is currently in New York taking care of her sister and left her son and his girlfriend in charge of taking care of the dogs and cats.

She said when she travels up north, her son’s girlfriend, who lives next door, takes their big dog for a walk every morning. When the dog goes for a walk, their two domestic cats go for their morning exercise as well.

DePalma said her son’s girlfriend noticed that neither of the cats joined her for the walk Monday morning. Blizzard was found under the car in the driveway once she returned from the walk and noticed that he was not moving and was bleeding from the head, eye and nose.

“Blizzard was laying there and bleeding very badly,” she said. “I think this is a disgrace, I think it is disgusting.”

The first gunshot wound came as a surprise to the family. DePalma said she felt a little bump on Blizzard a few weeks ago but thought it was a bug bite. Once Blizzard was taken to the Pine Island Animal Clinic the veterinarians informed them it was a pellet.

“We didn’t know he was shot in the rib cage area,” DePalma said. “To shoot a domestic cat is sick.”

Rowan said they found a lump next to his rib cage. She said the metal pellet went right over his rib cage, just missing his heart.

“This person really knows where he is aiming,” Rowan said.

Although the vet believes Blizzard will have no vision in his eye, he will have a full recovery otherwise.

“The vision, I doubt, will go back to the eye,” Rowan said, adding that they might have to remove the eye if he is having a lot of pain and blockage forms.

“He is going to pull, through,” DePalma said.

Blizzard was taken into surgery Tuesday afternoon to see if the veterinarian could remove the pellet without causing more damage through a minor exploratory technique. Unfortunately, she could not remove the bullet because it was behind the eyeball.

Blizzard will visit the clinic once a week, so the veterinarian can check on his recovery.

DePalma said Blizzard goes on a three-mile walk every day with her and goes up to everybody to say hello.

“He is not afraid of nothing,” she said.

The family will give a reward to the individual who leads them to the person who shot their cat. Anyone who has any information can call her son Jay at 239-283-3677.

“This person is going to be found,” DePalma said.

Those who would like to contribute money to the Blizzard Fund, to help the family pay for his medical bills, can do so by visiting the Pine Island Animal Clinic.

Phil Briguglio, captain of the Neighborhood Watch, said Blizzard always hangs out with him.

“He waits for me to come out the door every morning and at night,” he said. “He adopted me.”

As the captain he said he always watches and observes what is happening on his street, but unfortunately things like that happen when you are sleeping.

“Only so much you can do and watch without you actually becoming the police force,” Briguglio said.

In an effort to put up Neighborhood Watch signs, he said they are in the process of setting up a date for a meeting and fundraiser for residents to attend. Briguglio said the fundraiser is being held, so they can purchase signs to put up on their street, along with surrounding streets as well.

For information about how to donate to the neighborhood watch sign call Briguglio at 239-443-7130.

DePalma found Blizzard in a Poconos snow bank – which is where his name came from- when he was 7 weeks old. He is now 7 years old.

Rowan recommends all cat owners to keep their pets inside.

“My recommendation is keep your animals inside,” Rowan said. “Cats should really not be outside.”

She said some of these cats that never come home are dying and going off somewhere, which fortunately was not Blizzard’s case.