By CASSANDRA SHOFAR
MEDINA â€” Chester may just wear the stripes of a tiger, but surviving a bullet to the leg shows strength much like the distant relative.
The cat â€” a stray estimated to be 4 to 6 years old who has been hanging around Larkspur Courtâ€” was hit by a .22-caliber bullet Sept. 19, shattering his leg bone, said Barbara Lakin, who lives on Larkspur Court and has been caring for the cat for about a year whenever he stopped by her home.
â€œI got up earlier (Sept. 19) and went outside to get the newspaper and fed him,â€ she recalled. â€œBetween 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. I heard a quick bang, but I donâ€™t know what a gun or rifle sound like, so I didnâ€™t think anything of it.â€
Barbara and Richard Lakin have been caring for Chester, a tiger-striped stray cat who has been frequenting their Larkspur Court neighborhood in Medina. On Sept. 19, they found the 4- to 6-year-old cat had been hit by a .22-caliber bullet, which fractured his femur. Following surgery to repair the leg, the Lakins are looking for a good home for Chester. (Shirley Ware | Photo Editor)
Lakin said around 1 p.m., she and her husband, Richard, noticed Chester was limping, but didnâ€™t realize how bad it was until later that evening, when they saw he could barely get around.
â€œThere was no blood, but he could hardly walk,â€ she said. â€œWe kind of nursed him in the garage for a couple of days, but he wasnâ€™t getting any better.â€
So the Lakins took Chester to their veterinarian, David Duncan, of Litchfield Veterinary Clinic, and an X-ray showed Chester had a bullet lodged in his leg, Lakin said.
â€œEven though he wasnâ€™t our cat, we didnâ€™t have the heart to put him down, so we went ahead and let them do the surgery,â€ she said.
â€œHe came in not using the leg. We were hoping for a popped hip, but the X-ray showed a fractured femur caused by the bullet,â€ Duncan said. â€œThe entry wound was very small.â€
He added they were able to get the bullet out and fix the fracture.
â€œ(Chester) was just in for a recheck today (Monday) and he looked real good,â€ Duncan said. â€œHeâ€™s using it and getting around pretty good.â€
The Lakins do not have plans to keep Chester, which is the name they gave him until his owners or a new loving home are found, Lakin said.
â€œHe came from a loving home because heâ€™s very friendly, heâ€™s litter box trained â€¦ and was neutered,â€ she said. â€œThis was somebodyâ€™s loved house pet at one time. Iâ€™m not sure what happened, but heâ€™s been out on his own for a long time. He has this old beat-up collar you could see has been on for years.â€
Lakin said she even at one point put a small note on Chesterâ€™s collar saying if his homeowners find him, to call her and let her know.
However, Chester has not been so lucky in that regard, Lakin said.
â€œI want to find him a good home, a loving home,â€ she said. â€œHe would be a good pet for an older person. Heâ€™s a very good cat. He has a very sweet disposition, just a very nice cat.â€
While he hasnâ€™t been updated on shots, Chester has been tested for feline leukemia and AIDS as well as worms and fleas, all for which he tested negative, Lakin said.
She added it was very distressing someone would shoot a domesticated animal in a residential area.
â€œIt could have gone into any one of these houses or hit one of the kids that run around in the area,â€ she said. â€œ(The shooter) is sick and pretty stupid. I think theyâ€™re laying low and I think theyâ€™ll do it again, quite frankly.â€
Lakin added there are other outdoor cats that roam through the woods in her neighborhood that could be in danger as well as some dogs.
â€œIâ€™ve warned my neighbors,â€ she said.
The city ordinance about discharging a firearm states: â€œ(a) no person shall discharge any air gun, rifle, shotgun, revolver, pistol or other firearm within corporate limits of the Municipality. (b) This section does not apply when firearms are used in self defense, in the discharge of official duty or when otherwise lawfully authorized. (c) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.â€
â€œTo the cold-hearted person that would shoot a domestic animal, please be aware of this police ordinance,â€ Lakin said. â€œIt could endanger peopleâ€™s lives.â€
The owners of Chester or anyone interested in adopting him can contact the Lakins by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shofar may be reached at 330-721-4044 or email@example.com.