City police urge parents to watch where ‘Ralphie’ aims Red Ryder BB gun, not shoot pets

Published 8:46 am Monday, January 27, 2020

A Mississippi city’s police chief is warning parents to watch where their children are aiming their Christmas gifts.

Brookhaven Alderwoman-at-Large Karen Sullivan said more than one resident around the Vernondale neighborhood has complained about pets being shot and injured and asked Chief Kenneth Collins what could be done to stop the crime.

“Parents bought a lot of kids in that area BB guns and pellet guns for Christmas,” Collins said. “That’s the problem we’re having, little ol’ kids with these powerful little ol’ guns doing mayhem.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Michelle Fitzsimmons posted on the Vernondale Neighborhood Watch Facebook page that her cat Sherman was shot with a pellet gun Jan. 20. A veterinarian removed the pellet Thursday from the cat’s knee.

“I’m posting this even though I know I will hear leash law, leash law, leash law. But you know what… this is Brookhaven! We live in one of the best family-friendly streets in Brookhaven where kids play and pets play. We have animals in our yard daily that don’t belong to us. And would never harm an innocent animal,” she wrote. “He literally goes from our house to next door, sometimes across the street to neighbors that he loves and that love him. And he goes to my in-laws’ house at the end of the street where he is welcome.”

Fitzsimmons’ name and phone number is on Sherman’s collar.

“It makes me so sad to think of what kind of person could just shoot at a (cat or) dog. If it was an adult, shame on you. And if it was a child, please be honest and also please, please, please be careful. And if you are a parent of a child that goes out with a pellet gun or any type of gun please teach them gun safety and explain to them the seriousness of shooting animals.”

Brookhaven Animal Control officer Sharon Norton said it’s a Class C felony to shoot someone’s pet, even if it’s in the shooter’s yard. They can end up on the hook for the vet bill and fines.

“Unless you feel your life is in danger and usually the judge wants to see a dog bite,” she said. “Just because he’s in your yard doesn’t give anybody the right to shoot them.”

Norton’s mother-in-law’s cat was shot by a .22 the week before Christmas. Michelle survived the shooting but is beginning a long recovery to adjust to screws in her leg and hip. The bullet couldn’t be removed, Glenda Robinson said in a response to Fitzsimmon’s post.

The Robinsons live on Brady Drive a few blocks from the Fitzsimmonses.

Norton urged homeowners who have issues with a neighbor’s pet or stray animal to report it to the animal control office by calling Brookhaven Police Department at 601-833-2424.