PALMYRA, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lebanon County family has been searching for answers since they found one of their pets bleeding on their porch last week.
Now they’re left simply to wonder why.
This is a story about two brothers: Captain America, a brown and white cat, and Dexter, who’s white with gray spots. The Dion family in Palmyra adopted the pair about two years ago, and they “became part of our family,” Mark Dion said.
Then a few months ago, someone shot Captain America. He lost one of his hinds legs.
Then there’s Dexter.
“I mean these pets have names,” Dion said. “They sleep in our beds; they give us comfort.”
Last Tuesday, Kendra Dion, Mark’s wife, found Dexter on their front porch in a pool of blood.
They rushed the cat to the vet, who thought at first it was a dog attack, as did the Dions. Then they x-rayed Dexter.
The vet said she was horrified to find a piece of metal.
“In fact there was two pieces that had been left,” Dion said.
They were pieces of a broadhead hunting arrow, a projectile with three or four razor-sharp triangular blades forming something of a pyramid at the tip.
Like his brother, Dexter had been shot.
His right eye was severely damaged, as was his sinus. The arrow even made its way through the roof of his mouth and into his tongue.
“The hardest part of being a parent,” Dion said, “is when you have to explain to your children why a hunter would choose to do this to a member of your family.”
The Dions have two kids, Claire, 7, and Sevrin, 6.
Dion and the vet think that, given the angle, the shot came from a tree stand. There’s one within sight of their house, and another a little farther down the road.
Dexter wandered around outside and may have come into contact with a hunter, Dion said. It’s currently bowhunting season for deer.
How the feline made it back to the family’s porch is a mystery.
Dion made it clear he’s not condemning all hunters, but wanted to remind everyone that actions have consequences, and to think before you shoot.
“What we ask you to do is that if you’re out hunting and your license is for deer, to hunt what you’re there for,” he said.
Against Dion’s expectations, Dexter started to improve after surgery; things looked pretty good.
But his tongue became necrotic — it started to die. The vet would have to amputate it. Without a tongue to eat, he’d require a feeding tube, and his quality of life would be greatly reduced.
The Dions decided to put him down.
Sevrin Dion drew a picture in crayon to remember the friend he’s had for a third of his life.
“We ask you to keep our family safe.”
North Londonderry Township police, who took the report, said it’s unlikely this was an accident, and just as unlikely that a bowhunter confused Dexter for another animal.
Police chief Kevin Snyder said someone probably saw him and decided to take a shot.
The department is treating it as an animal cruelty case, but Snyder said unless someone comes forward, it’s going to be difficult to investigate. Police can’t simply walk into the woods and question every hunter, he said.
If you have any information, you can call the department at 717-838-5276.