Neighborhood uses new website to look for whoever injured a beloved cat

BLACKLICK, Ohio (WCMH) — A beloved family pet who was shot with a pellet gun had to be put down. Now, the neighborhood is rallying to catch the crook. But how they’re doing it might surprise you.

It’s all thanks to a new community messaging site Nextdoor.com, and even Columbus Police are getting in on the action.

El Gato the cat used to make his rounds in the Waggoner Woods neighborhood in Blacklick. He was an outdoor cat. But he was obviously loved–he even wore a collar for an invisible fence.

On election night, Gato disappeared.

“It wasn’t an animal, it wasn’t an accident. Somebody purposely did this to him,” says El Gato’s owner Melissa Sandy.

She and her husband Thomas are still in shock. “There’s no, there’s no reason,” she said.

After he disappeared, the Sandy family put a notice up on Nextdoor.

“(I) put it out on Nextdoor, texted some of my neighbors that know him and usually see him and nobody had seen him.”

Five days later, they got a call. Gato had been found gravely injured, He had to be put down.

“Somebody’d actually shot him in his eyes with a pellet gun,” says Thomas.

Melissa put the sad news on Nextdoor.com and the condolences started rolling in. Her neighbors even raised money for a reward for information.

Columbus Police are using NextDoor.com too.

Sgt. Rich Weiner says, “This is just another tool in our arsenal.”

The site lets neighbors communicate with each other and with their Community Liaison Officers. You can even send tips.

“You’re invited into the group by the block watch, you use your real names,” says Sgt. Weiner.

For Melissa & Thomas Sandy it also means a chance for justice. Melissa says, “Somebody that’s capable of doing something like that…” Thomas finishes for her, “Who knows what else they can do.”

Sgt. Weiner stresses that Nextdoor.com doesn’t replace the Columbus Police website, Facebook, Twitter or Crimestoppers sharing tips or getting information, but says it is another way for neighbors to communicate with police.

If you have any information about what happened to Gato call the Capital Area Humane Society at 614-777-7387 ext. 250.

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