After completing “an extensive and thorough investigation,” the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and the state attorney’s office will not charge an 81-year-old who shot a cat in late August.
During the course of the investigation and speaking to residents who live in the local area, investigators learned that the homeowner had attempted various methods of dealing with the cat nuisance problem to include speaking with Mark Crowe, who was feeding the feral cats, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.
Since 2009, the feral cats have caused damage to the homeowner’s property. This included damage to the clear coat of his vehicle from the body fluids of the cats urinating and vomiting and the destruction of the carpeting of his boat due to the cats urinating and defecating.
According to the Sheriff’s Office report, the homeowner, along with other concerned neighbors, spoke with Mark Crowe on numerous occasions and asked him to discontinue his practice of feeding the feral cats as they had become a nuisance and were causing “considerable damage to personal property.” One homeowner, who lives out of state, was notified by neighbors that her carport was being utilized as a feeding area for the feral cats. That homeowner spoke with Crowe and reportedly asked him not to come onto her property to feed the cats due to the fact that her furniture on the front porch was torn up. In addition, another neighbor removed his boat from her carport because of the feral cats, according to the release.
Upon review of all statements pertaining to this case, Florida State Statute 828, Walton County Animal Control Ordinances, and the Florida Conservation of Wildlife Statutes, the feral cats are considered a “nuisance animal by definition” and have damaged the homeowner property, for which the caretakers can be held liable.
“This incident was not inhumane and did not result in a cruel death to an animal,” the Sheriff’s Office report concludes.
The release also notes that since January 1, 2013, The Walton County Sheriff’s Office has handled 38 animal cases to include animal abuse, abandonment and neglect. On Sept. 5, a cat was brutally beaten to death. The evidence collected led to the arrest of 22-year-old Shawn David Ball. More information about that case is available at waltonso.org