Rare cat owner distraught by shooting

May 2, 2009 at 3:33 PM

VIOLET, La., May 2 (UPI) -- A Louisiana woman is upset that someone shot and killed her $3,500 Savannah cat after it escaped her home.

Linda Authement of Violet said the recent discovery of her cat, Raja, with a hole in its head has her both heartbroken and angry, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Saturday.

"I could have accepted it if the cat got hit, if something would have happened accidentally to it," Authement said. "But a cat getting shot in the head point blank like that, I can't accept it."

The Savannah cat is a crossbreed between a Serval African wild cat and domestic cats. They can weigh up to 25 pounds and have spots like a leopard.

Authement said after Raja escaped from her home two weeks ago, she received a call from her neighbor, Rene Paul Desselle, who admitted shooting at the cat thinking it was a wild animal.

While Desselle said he missed the cat, Raja's dead body was found in a nearby vacant lot.

The Times-Picayune said Desselle was promptly arrested and now faces charges of aggravated cruelty to an animal and illegal discharge of a weapon.

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