PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A man was arrested on animal cruelty charges after a cat was found shot to death in Carrick.
Police say the cat had gone missing from its owners and was found dead by a woman in the backyard of a home in the 300 block of Overbrook Boulevard on July 29.
The cat had a large wound on its backside, and police say a necropsy revealed that it was killed by a pellet from a pellet gun.
Thirty-six-year-old Michael Andrews is facing two counts of cruelty to animals and one count of discharging a firearm or air gun in connection with the cat's death.
According to the criminal complaint, Andrews admitted to firing near the cat to scare it. Andrews told police he was on his back deck when he saw the cat walking around a flower bed. He said cats coming onto his property became a problem after his wife was growing vegetables and flowers and she was upset.
Court paperwork also said Andrews turned over a long-type rifle with a scope. He also told police that he owns an airsoft gun to shoot squirrels and other wildlife that come into his yard.
"I did not shoot directly at the cat but in the vicinity in hopes to scare it and get it out of the garden," Andrews told police, according to the criminal complaint.
Andrews told a neighbor, according to court paperwork, who found Rocky that, "You saw me shoot at it, not kill it."
KDKA's Jennifer Borrasso talked to the family and the little girl who lost her beloved pet. Rocky was rescued from a warehouse dumpster when he was a kitten.
"He was the nicest cat ever," said 10-year-old Savannah Bensur. "I really miss him."
Savannah said the cat meant everything to her.
"I was like his mom," she said.
Rocky helped Savannah get through her parents' divorce and remote learning.
"He was like a therapist to me. Whenever I was sad. He would come to lay with me," the 10-year-old said.
Now the family wants justice.
"We want him to know this is not right. That we are very disappointed and that animals are loving creatures and he should be compassionate toward them," said Lissa Bensur.
"I want him to know Rocky was really special," said Savannah Bensur.
KDKA's Jennifer Borrasso called Andrews for comment. He did not call back.
Andrews is due in court in November.
for more features.