on crusade to find cat-killer
Palm Beach Post
April 18th, 2004
comment: This is not the first investigation we have done for
the Palm Beach Cat Rescue and Humane Society.)
TJ and Neil
Fisher hired an ex-CIA agent and offered $10,000.00 to find the person
who's shooting and killing cats with a high-powered pellet gun.
But that's not enough in the pricey neighborhood on the 100 block of
Seminole Avenue, where mansions go for millions. Now, the couple
has upped the offer to $25,000.
someone will offer information leading to the arrest and conviction of
the person who pumped three pellets into Karuki, the one-eyed orange
tomcat the Fishers adopted last year.
survived, but a neighbor's cat didn't. Other cats, many of whom
have been saved and neutered under the town's feral cat program, have
disappeared, the Fishers say.
Palm Beach's dirty little secret," said Neil Fisher, a hotel
developer. "And someone has to stop it."
In May, a
6-year-old Siamese cat named Caruso was show with a high-powered
pellet gun whole it followed its owner, Catherine Bradley, founder of
the Palm Beach Cat Rescue and Humane Society. Bradley and Caruso
were two doors down from the Fishers when Caruso jumped into the
air. The pellet severed Caruso's spine and paralyzed his hind
legs, and he was euthanized.
In both cases,
law enforcement officers investigated the neighbor two houses from the
Fishers, bank owner Charles Gerlach, 75. But the state
attorney's office declined to arrest him because there wasn't enough
evidence to convict, according to court records. In taped
conversations with a private investigator, Gerlach admitted to using a
pellet gun to ward off cats that wandered onto his property, according
to police affidavits.
yeah, I just got one tonight," he told the private eye, according
to the affidavits.
lives directly behind Bradley, who for 15 years ran the Palm Beach Cat
Rescue, a small-scale trap, neuter and release program until the town
arrested her for felony trespassing. The town began capturing
and killing feral cats -- killing 50 in three months -- before it
reversed itself and adopted Bradley's idea, establishing its own
nonprofit group to neuter, release and sometimes relocate the town's
Gerlach told Detective Cassie Kovacs of the Palm Beach County
Sheriff's Office animal cruelty unit that he hated cats but he didn't
shoot them, according to her report. During teh interview at
Gerlach's home, Kovacs saw a small box of BB pellets on his desk, the
same kind recovered from Caruso's body, her report said.
not available this weekend, but his wife, Betty, said her husband was
just being a smart aleck.
no cats," she said, "but we haven't any
the Fishers found that Karuki had been shot after they noticed the cat
was breathing shallowly. X-Rays found the three pellets:
One is lodged deep in the cat's lungs, the pther two are at the
This is not
the first time the Fishers have offered a reward to find a cat
killer. In 1998, TJ Fisher, who once described herself in
Florida society pages as an actress, director, real estate developer
and author of an unpublished novel, The Pearly Gates of Purgatory,
offered $10,000 to find the person who poisoned 10 cats and two dogs
killer has moved away, TJ Fisher said.
information about the cat shootings can call 714-9992.
my family," TJ Fisher said. "You touch my cat or dog
or husband, I want there to be consequences."