PALMETTO BAY, Fla. – Authorities are searching for the person who shot an orange dart right into a cat's head, leaving the feline to suffer alone in the streets of a Palmetto Bay neighborhood.
The culprit could face a fine, but some residents who have seen and heard the cat's suffering are hoping for the possibility of criminal charges.
Tami Stefanoff believes this is an extreme case of animal cruelty.
"There should be consequences, heavy consequences, not just a fine," Stefanoff said. "I think it deserves jail time."
After the cat was roaming around injured for days in the area of Southwest 152nd Street near Coral Reef Park, Local 10 News staff notified Miami-Dade Animal Services.
Miami-Dade Animal Services spokeswoman Lilian Bohorquez said a woman trapped the animal using chicken nuggets and the dart was dislodged while the cat was in its crate.
"I just went and I grabbed the string, and I pulled it and it dropped," Elly Schnau told Local 10 News.
Bohorquez said an Animal Services veterinarian treated the cat and took photos and X-rays as forensic evidence.
The cat is expected to make a full recovery and is staying with Schnau as it heals.
Animal Services is working with the Palmetto Bay Police Department in the investigation, and a detective is expected to retrieve the dart from Animal Services Friday to determine whether there is any DNA on it.
"If you're the person who did this, you need help," cat advocate Cindy Hewitt said.
Anyone with information about who injured the cat is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.