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Teens allegedly unleashed dogs on neighbor's cat

By Paul Huggins
DAILY Staff Writer

phuggins@decaturdaily.com 340-2395

Two 17-year-old boys face criminal charges for unleashing their two pit bulls on a cat.

Robbie Forton, who owns the cat, said her neighbor was at her mailbox at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday when she saw the two teens walk their dogs into Forton's front yard on First Avenue Southwest and sic the dogs on the cat, Miss Kitty.

Miss Kitty tried to escape up a tree, but the dogs pulled her down, Forton said, recounting her neighbor's description of the event. Forton was in Huntsville when the alleged attack occurred.

"One of them had her by the neck and the other had her by the lower body," she said. "My neighbor said she came over and beat the dogs off her. Afterward, they tried to wrap Miss Kitty in a towel and take her to the vet, but she got scared and ran away, limping."

The neighbors saw her hide in a culvert. When Forton returned home and learned of what happened, she searched for three hours, but the cat never answered her calls or returned home.

"We figured she died," Forton said. "I just can't comprehend why somebody would do this."

Decatur police located the teens at their home in the neighborhood and notified Forton of warrant procedures to press charges. Decatur Animal Control will present the case to the magistrate.

Animal shelter Director Danny Melson said the city could charge the suspects with possession of a potentially dangerous or vicious animal as well as cruelty to animals. Both are misdemeanors.

Penalties are at the discretion of Municipal Judge Bill Cook. In addition to fines and court costs, Melson said, first-time offenders of the vicious animal ordinance generally receive probation.

Miss Kitty, a brown cat with black stripes, became the family pet 15 years ago when Forton's daughter found her as a malnourished stray. Five years ago to the day, a car struck Miss Kitty, and Forton hopes she can survive this ordeal, too.

"You would never know she was that old," she said. "She was still a loving cat and loved to play."

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