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Sunny’s on the mend, but neighborhood still angry

Sunny the Abyssinian cat relaxes at home. She is recovering from being shot with a pellet.     - Rhonda Jourdonnais photo
Sunny the Abyssinian cat relaxes at home. She is recovering from being shot with a pellet.
— image credit: Rhonda Jourdonnais photo

Sunny the cat is recovering nicely at her Baby Island home after being shot with a pellet gun. But neighbors are still fuming, her owner said Monday.

“She’s doing great,” said Rhonda Jourdonnais. “She’s driving me crazy at the door wanting to go out. But she’s not going to go out, not while there’s some maniac shooting cats.”

Jourdonnais figures Sunny, her 2½-year-old brown Abyssinian, was shot sometime Wednesday, July 29, probably somewhere in the neighborhood.

“She never goes farther than a couple of houses down,” she said. “She might have gone across the street.”

Jourdonnais said Sunny returned home that day looking ill, and she wouldn’t eat. The wounded cat had climbed onto the roof of a dog kennel, then onto a balcony and through a bathroom window, Jourdonnais said.

“If she hadn’t done that, she might never have made it home and I wouldn’t have known what happened to her,” Jourdonnais said.

Thinking the cat had a bladder infection, Jourdonnais took her to the Useless Bay Animal Clinic in Freeland, where she has worked as a receptionist for the past 12 years.

An X-ray by Dr. David Parent showed a pellet lodged in Sunny’s intestine. The prospect of a successful surgery appeared grim, but Sunny later took care of the situation herself by passing the pellet and beginning her recovery.

“It was a miracle,” Jourdonnais said of Sunny, who she has had since the cat was a baby. “Everything that had to happen for her to make it, seems to have happened.”

Jourdonnais said it also is fortunate that she works at the animal clinic, which saved her a costly veterinary bill.

Sunny was the third pet cat to be attacked in Island County in the past month, although the incidents don’t appear to be related, said Carol Barnes, the county’s animal control officer.

Sometime during the final week in July, a 4-year-old Oak Harbor orange tabby named Chubby was shot with a gun and had to have one of his back legs amputated.

In an earlier incident, another Oak Harbor pet cat was shot with an arrow, Barnes said.

She said there are no suspects and no witnesses in any of the cases, but that she would continue her investigation. She said shooting a cat is illegal, even if the animal isn’t on its owner’s property.

“It’s a serious crime when somebody shoots a domestic pet,” Barnes said. “It’s animal cruelty in the first degree.”

Jourdonnais said she called the Island County Sheriff’s Office when she learned of the pellet, and word was passed to Barnes, a longtime friend, who called immediately.

Jourdonnais said she eventually will permit Sunny to go outdoors, perhaps after installing an invisible fencing apparatus. Jourdonnais also owns two pet dogs.

She said her Baby Island neighbors all know what happened to Sunny, and are determined to locate the shooter. The community is well-known as a friendly zone for pets.

Many residents have adopted orphans from Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation (WAIF), and feel that interaction between pets and animals has brought neighbors closer together, she said.

“Everybody in the neighborhood is on the lookout for this person,” Jourdonnais said of the shooter. “We will find out who it is.”

She said one neighbor even suggested that signs be posted throughout the neighborhood reading “We will find you.”

Anyone with information can reach Barnes through the ICOM dispatch center at 360-679-9567, or by calling 360-929-1732.

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