October 20, 2014

Medina
Showers
44°F

Couple helps wounded cat

By CASSANDRA SHOFAR

Staff Writer

MEDINA — 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 — a stray estimated to be 4 to 6 years old who has been hanging around Larkspur Court— 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.

“I got up earlier (Sept. 19) and went outside to get the newspaper and fed him,” she recalled. “Between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. I heard a quick bang, but I don’t know what a gun or rifle sound like, so I didn’t think anything of it.”


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 didn’t realize how bad it was until later that evening, when they saw he could barely get around.

“There was no blood, but he could hardly walk,” she said. “We kind of nursed him in the garage for a couple of days, but he wasn’t getting any better.”

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.

“Even though he wasn’t our cat, we didn’t have the heart to put him down, so we went ahead and let them do the surgery,” she said.

“He 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,” Duncan said. “The entry wound was very small.”

He added they were able to get the bullet out and fix the fracture.

“(Chester) was just in for a recheck today (Monday) and he looked real good,” Duncan said. “He’s using it and getting around pretty good.”

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.

“He came from a loving home because he’s very friendly, he’s litter box trained … and was neutered,” she said. “This was somebody’s loved house pet at one time. I’m not sure what happened, but he’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.”

Lakin said she even at one point put a small note on Chester’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.

“I want to find him a good home, a loving home,” she said. “He would be a good pet for an older person. He’s a very good cat. He has a very sweet disposition, just a very nice cat.”

While he hasn’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.

“It could have gone into any one of these houses or hit one of the kids that run around in the area,” she said. “(The shooter) is sick and pretty stupid. I think they’re laying low and I think they’ll do it again, quite frankly.”

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.

“I’ve warned my neighbors,” she said.

The city ordinance about discharging a firearm states: “(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.”

“To the cold-hearted person that would shoot a domestic animal, please be aware of this police ordinance,” Lakin said. “It could endanger people’s lives.”

The owners of Chester or anyone interested in adopting him can contact the Lakins by e-mail at blaki41@peoplepc.com.

Shofar may be reached at 330-721-4044 or cshofar@ohio.net.