LAKE WORTH, Fla. – A South Florida neighborhood is on edge as police try to find the person responsible for a cruel crime against cats.
One woman said her beloved pet was left partially paralyzed after it was shot with a pellet gun.
Ascension Olivas said she raised the animal for the past four years since it was just 10 days old.
She said she now is caring for the cat, which still has serious injuries.
Olivas believes the incident occurred at the Palm Beach Mobile Home Park near Boutwell Road and Second Avenue North in Lake Worth.
Palm Beach County Animal Services is searching for the culprit.
Olivas told Local 10 News reporter Roy Ramos that her cat, Antonella, disappeared on Dec. 15.
She said she found her cat 18 days later, hiding underneath her house and seriously injured.
Olivas said she took the cat to the veterinarian and discovered it had been shot with a pellet gun. The cat is now unable to move its hind legs.
After reporting the crime to Animal Services, Olivas discovered other residents also had pets that suffered similar injuries.
Olivas said the pellet hit her cat’s spine and injured her vertebrae.
"I want this person to be caught and to really pay, to feel the burden of guilt," Olivas said.
Palm Beach County Animal Services officials said shooting animals in a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Authorities said they want to catch whoever is responsible before he or she strikes again.
If you have any information that can help them, you are urged to call Palm Beach County Animal Services.