WEST POINT -- Davis County Animal Control Services is working to find the person who intentionally shot Tennessee, a black minx cat, with a pellet gun in the head.
Tennessee's owners, Larry and Joni Hyatt, are also offering a reward to anyone who has information that would lead to the arrest of the person who shot Tennessee, also known as "T."
Tennessee started coughing and sneezing and scratching at her face several weeks ago. When she wouldn't leave her face alone, they took her to Dr. Mary Smart, their veterinarian at Quail Point Veterinary Hospital.
An X-ray showed a pellet near her eye and inside her sinus cavity, Larry Hyatt said.
Dr. Smart told us, "(Surgery to remover the pellet) is above her skill level," he said.
The Hyatts are now trying to find a veterinarian who can do the surgery. Tennessee, meanwhile, is wearing a plastic cone to keep her from scratching at her face and is getting antibiotics to keep an infection away.
Tennessee became a part of their family about nine years ago after someone dumped her off near their home.
"She picked us," Joni Hyatt said.
The Hyatts have other cats, but Tennessee is the only one that refuses to live in their home. She prefers the garage, they said. She usually stays close to home and doesn't wander too far off.
Now the Hyatts would like to know who shot their cat.
"Other cats come into my yard, and I understand some people don't like it when cats dig up their gardens, but they can either come see me or call animal control," Larry Hyatt said. "You don't shoot a cat."
Davis County Animal Control Director Clint Thacker said the person who shot the cat, if caught, could be charged with a felony.
Utah law forbids intentionally harming an animal.
He said the shelter gets at least two cats a year that have been shot.
Last year, officers found a cat that had been shot with blow darts. After surgery, the staff at the shelter decided to keep the cat, whose name is now "Dart."
Smart said her clinic sees one or two animals a year that have been shot. Generally it is a pit bull, not a cat.
Anyone with information about the incident can call 801-444-2200.