Monday, March 29, 2010

Local Vet Facing Animal Cruelty Charges in Cat Killing

A local veterinarian is facing felony cruelty to animals for allegedly beating a cat to death.

Bay County Sheriff's investigators arrested 52-year-old Margaret Fowler Monday morning at her home on South Lagoon Drive. The alleged incident happened on March 1.

Authorities say one of Fowler's neighbors saw Fowler hitting what appeared to be a cat with a rubber mallet.

The neighbor claims Fowler then grabbed the cat by the tail, carried it to a privacy fence and laid it down. The neighbor says she walked over to the fence and discovered the cat belonged to her live-in boyfriend.

Animal Control officers arrived.

They say Fowler told them she noticed the cat was suffering from injuries it received after it was hit by a car. She claimed the cat dragged itself over to the fence and died.

The senior director of veterinary forensic sciences for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals performed an necropsy and found that the cat bled to death because it was beaten in the head and stomach with a round blunt object.

Fowler is the owner and operator of Acupuncture & Holistic Veterinary Service of Northwest Florida. She runs the business out of her South Lagoon home, right across the street from the alleged incident.

She also practices at several other veterinary clinics and animal attractions in Bay County.

Fowler is being held in the Bay County jail. She's due in court tomorrow for a bond hearing.

The cat's owner says he is horrified at what happened: "It takes a sick mind, just absolute twisted, sick mind to do something like this to a defenseless animal," said Spike Shipley. "I don't know how to describe it, I just, every day, I think about it."

Shipley says the cat's sister died under suspicious circumstances last Thanksgiving. He says he may turn that incident over to authorities.

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