Some local families in Lakeside are desperate to find the sniper targeting their animals.
On Sunday morning, the indoor/outdoor cat that Matt Cummings adopted as a stray kitten some 16 months ago walked up to him looking for a meal.
About an hour later, Kitty was vomiting.
“I can't explain what I feel,” said Cummings, choking back tears.
After several trips to the vet, a wrenching diagnosis: someone had shot Kitty with a pellet gun, the bullet landing in his chest.
“It's like somebody ripped out the heart from my chest and put it in a garbage disposal,” said Cummings.
A photo shows Cummings cradling Kitty before he was put down.
“He was a loving, caring cat. He was the sweetest cat I’ve ever seen. It was like losing a family member,” said Cummings.
After Kitty died, the veterinarian removed the pellet and then came the shocker: another pellet.
“It's the exact same kind of pellet,” said Cummings.
The pellet was in Kitty's leg, a superficial wound dating back about six months.
“We thought it was a minor injury and he stopped limping after a week,” said Cummings.
The shootings are the latest in a string of incidents in Lakeside.
“It's horrible we can't let our animals out because someone is shooting them for fun,” said Cummings.
A rescue group called Rescue X reports in the past week a cat was shot with a dart and a horse was shot with a gun and put down.
Cummings posted details of the incident on the East County Emergency Updates Facebook page, in hopes of tips – and justice.
“I don't want this happening to anybody. I don't want them feeling what I feel,” said Cummings.
Cummings says a neighbor had complained about the cat being outside. It's unclear if any of the cases are connected.
Anyone with information is asked to call County Animal Services at (619) 767-2751.
Rescue X has set up an anonymous tipline at (619) 672-2662.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help with Kitty's vet bill.