5 cats hit by darts in Newman neighborhood

NEWMAN, Calif.

On Saturday, officers in Newman received three reports of cats being hit by arrows from a cross bow. Luckily none of the pets were killed, but families are now concerned people could become the next target.

"Who's to say they're not going to graduate from a cat to a dog, then to a child or something else?" said pet owner Mary Areias-Romo as she pet her injured cat.

Areias-Romo said she couldn't be happier to have her beloved Bella back home.

"She's a very big love bug," she said..

Her furry friend was recently released from the animal hospital after a horrific case of cat cruelty. Newman police said someone shot a six inch dart directly into Bella's right eye.

"We were in the backyard doing yard work and my son comes around the corner completely hysterical saying there's an arrow in her eye and I was like what?" she said. "The tip of the dart was sticking out."

Turns out, Bella wasn't the only cat targeted in the community. This past weekend, four year old Mallory Pruett's pet, Twinkle, was shot in the back. X-rays at the vetranarian's office revealed just how close the dart had come to piercing Twinkle's heart and her spine.

"I couldn't believe she was still moving," said the girl's mother. "It's a miracle cat, this is a miracle cat."

Within a one mile radius, there was one more miracle when police discovered a family pet by the name of Boon was struck in the neck and also survived the attack. Officers said, in each case, the cats were shot with a similar type of dart.

"I've never seen anything like this in Newman," said Newman Police Corporal Jason Gosselin. "This is probably one of the worst animal cruelty cases I've ever seen."

With two more cases reported Tuesday afternoon, Gosselin said he's fearful more victims are out there and said his department is now beefing up patrols in residential neighborhoods in search of the person or persons responsible.

"Something like this, animal cruelty is a felony. They face jail time and a possible fine," he said.

As for Mary, she's keeping a close eye on her cat and her neighborhood and is asking others to do the same. "If you see anything or hear anything, be anonymous. Call the police department. Do something because this has got to stop."

To encourage people to come forward, pet owners are now offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of a suspect.

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