Did Centralia officer do the right thing by using hammer to kill injured cat?

March 27, 2015

Did a police officer in Washington state do the right thing by killing a cat trapped and injured cat?

This story was reported March 25 by The Chronicle, after Centralia Police Department Officer, identified as Phillip Reynolds, hit the entangled cat with a hammer multiple times while answering a call to the 1300 block of Crescent Avenue about the injured kitty.

The cat, beloved pet of Karen Thorson, which occurred March 20, thankfully didn’t witness the killing of her cat Freddy, but one of her neighbors did. Nick Murray says Freddy was hit several times after becoming trapped on a fence. Officer John Panco said he was told the cat was only struck once, and that was done to “end its suffering.”

Karen and Nick say there were better ways to have handled the situation. At the time, Nick didn’t realize it was Freddy trapped on the fence. Freddy had injuries to his back leg, but both feel he would have survived with vet treatment. What could have been the amputation of the rear leg instead got Freddy killed?

Officer Panco said the method used to hit the cat wasn’t specified in the police incident report but stated that

“As far as I can tell there was no violation of policy. He did all he could with putting (the cat) out of his misery as quickly as possible, and a firearm just wasn’t an option on this case.”

Apparently, the department doesn’t have a specific policy for ending the suffering of injured animals, and the decision is made by the officer on a case by case basis.

Panco explained officers are trained to put down an animal in the most humane way available, and the firing of a gun would have been a danger to the residential neighborhood. His weapon would also most likely have destroyed the cat, given the caliber of his weapon.

Officer Reynolds spoke with Karen after killing Freddy and was upset at the decision he had to make, based on what he saw as the condition of the cat.

Karen still says

“But nevertheless it was a very, very bad call.”

What do the readers think the officer should have done, given the circumstances? Please leave a comment.



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