• Police: Man admits he killed neighbor's cat in fear of fleas

    By: Tony Thomas

    Updated:

    GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Gwinnett County Animal Control is investigating the shooting death of a neighborhood cat.  The feline, named Bellyrub, was shot and killed Saturday morning by a man police said admitted the crime, insisting the animal was spreading fleas to his dog.

    “That baby didn't bother nobody,” owner Laverne Wallace said. "He needs to pay redemption for what he's done.”

     Wallace said she is still heartbroken over the loss. Wallace and her sister, Marie Nichols, keep several cats and a dog at their home on William Street in Dacula. They both said that Bellyrub was their favorite.

    "He'd put his paws around our face and kiss us and love on us," Nichols said.

    The sisters said a neighbor found the cat lying in her yard Saturday morning after she saw nearby resident Larry Rooks shoot and kill the cat with a rifle from his carport.

    "It knocked me off my rocker, ya'll. I could understand if it was rabid or something," Nichols said. "To hurt an innocent cat, there's no excuse for it.”

    Channel 2’s Tony Thomas tried to speak to Rooks, but a relative said he was recovering from a surgery. The 74-year-old is out on bond on animal cruelty charges.

    In a police report, Gwinnett County police wrote Rooks admitted to the shooting, saying, "I knew I hit it because it jumped in the air when I shot at it," and "I knew I was not going to miss my shot because that rifle is pretty accurate."

    The report went on to say Rooks claimed he shot the cat from about 60 yards away because it was coming on his property to pass fleas to his dog.

    While Channel 2 Action News was on Williams Street, a Gwinnett County Animal Control investigator arrived to question the sisters more about the incident. The sisters said they are worried that something even more serious may happen in the future. 

    "If he'll do that to that cat, what do you think he'll do to me?" Nichols asked.

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