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Owner Wants Justice for Bill the Cat’s Death


Aired 4/19/09

A Vista man is facing trial for allegedly killing his neighbor's cat with a bow and arrow. Robert Eugene Brunner pleaded not guilty to three counts of animal cruelty. The cat's owner just wants justice. KPBS reporter Andrew Phelps has the story of Bill the Cat.

Janeen Bubien lives in a semi-rural part of Vista. Her orange tabby, Bill, was named after the mangy cat in the "Bloom County" comic strip.

Bubien: He was just as tenacious and gross -- but a funny, funny cat. And he would leave during the day and come home for dinner and leave in the morning after breakfast.

Back in April 2006, the neighbor kids discovered Bill with two metal arrows in his neck. He was stuck under the patio. Bubien describes the rescue effort.

Bubien: They ripped up the patio. They took all the sheetrock and the washing machine. Then Bill just bee-lined it. He got so scared. Once we cracked open that top, he jumped and ran right into a garage. And I just said shut it down. Get the back door, shut it down, turn off the lights, let's put a blanket over him.

Bill died two days later in a veterinary hospital. A prosecutor's witness says Robert Eugene Brunner, a neighbor, shot the cat because it was urinating in the man's yard. Brunner says he didn't do it. He faces nearly five years in prison if convicted.

Andrew Phelps, KPBS News.

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