Abu Dhabi family’s anger after pet cat is shot with arrow

Horrified owner of 10-month old Jack fears shooter may target humans.

Adele Bezuidenhout with Jack, who is recovering after emergency surgery. Ravindranath K / The National
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ABU DHABI // Residents of Al Raha Gardens have expressed their outrage after a tenant’s cat was shot with a hunting bow in their backyard on Friday.

“I know for 100 per cent sure that this was malicious,” said Adele Bezuidenhout, the owner of Jack, a 10-month-old black and white Arabian mau who is recovering after emergency surgery.

“I asked the vet three times yesterday, and she said to me she simply cannot see this being an accident.”

Mrs Bezuidenhout, a South African who has lived in the UAE for six years, said she and her family had gone out to dinner on Friday night.

When they arrived home later that evening, a distraught neighbour arrived at their door.

“He said to me, ‘Something terrible has happened. I need you to be calm and don’t freak out, but I just took Jack to the vet as he was shot with a bow and arrow’,” she said.

“I was so shocked that I was probably standing there for five minutes and I couldn’t move.”

No witnesses have come forward, but Mrs Bezuidenhout and her neighbours believe Jack may have been shot while walking along a concrete wall that links the compound’s properties, then fell into the neighbour’s backyard.

With a large arrow sticking out of his body, Jack stumbled through the neighbour’s open back door and collapsed in the family’s living room, where he was found by the children.

“When they noticed the cat was very seriously wounded, they started crying and screaming. My wife also started screaming and crying,” said the neighbour.

They took the injured animal to the Australian Veterinarian Hospital in Khalifa City, where a lifesaving operation costing the Bezuidenhouts Dh2,200 was carried out.

The vet said that the arrow had gone through Jack’s thorax and crushed vertebrae.

The arrow, which was 82 centimetres long, was removed during the operation.

“He’s all stitched up. He’s got two drains in his wounds to get rid of the blood and the fluids. He’s on three types of antibiotics and pain medication,” said Mrs Bezuidenhout, who has kept the arrow as evidence for police.

Animal abuse is punishable under UAE law by a maximum of a year in jail and fines of between Dh5,000 and Dh20,000.

“The police need to catch these people,” the neighbour said, echoing the sentiments of others who have expressed alarm on the Al Raha Gardens Community Page on Facebook.

“We cannot live thinking that around us there are people with these kinds of weapons. Today they do a cat, tomorrow nobody knows. This is insane. If you can shoot a cat, you can also shoot a human.”

Mrs Bezuidenhout said that even if the perpetrator was not found, she wanted to get the word out about the attack. She contacted police and the property manager, Khidmah, and said both had been supportive.

A spokesman for Khidmah said the company was “aware of the unfortunate incident with a pet cat, who is now back with his owner. The matter is being dealt with by the police and we are providing support with their inquiries”.

rpennington@thenational.ae