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Exclusive: "I just want to know why they shot my cat?"

La Plata, MD- Charles County Animal Control and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office are asking for the public’s help in locating the person who shot and injured a cat in La Plata.

The cat, named Maximus, was found severely injured Tuesday, May 2 in the 5200 block of Colebrook Street around 9 p.m. The 12-pound cat had been outside for about 30 minutes prior to being found with his injuries.

Max’s owner, Christi Montgomery, an officer with Maryland Park Police in Prince George’s County, rushed him to an emergency vet. First believing he had been hit by a car, Montgomery learned her family pet had been shot with a high-powered pellet gun at close range. After one surgery in an attempt to save his injured leg, Max’s front right leg ultimately had to be amputated.

As a 20 year veteran of the Maryland Park Police, Montgomery has spent years personally and professionally trying to save animals. “My daughter and I rescue and foster animals as well as volunteer with animal rescues.” Montgomery explained. She’s also a member of All Shepherd Rescue where she has adopted two German Shepherds.

Montgomery and her 10 year old daughter, Michalyn Atkinson, adopted Max after he was found by another park police officer when he was just a two pound kitten. Atkinson shares her mother’s love of animals. “For her birthday last September, she didn’t ask for any gifts. She asked for donations for animal shelters. She can’t understand this kind of evil because she wants to save animals and rescue them,” Montgomery said.

Atkinson couldn’t believe the news when she learned Max was shot. “I started crying and couldn’t understand why they did. I don’t want anything bad to happen to my pets.”

This attack on Max has devastated the family, “Michalyn is having trouble sleeping. She wants to move. She doesn’t want me to let the dog out. She’s afraid. I don’t want her to grow up with a bad view of the world but I can’t understand what they were thinking when they shot my cat.”

Right now, Max is recovering at home and has a long road ahead. Even if Max was causing problems or someone felt threatened by him, Montgomery wants to know why they felt shooting him was their only option. “Why shoot him? Why didn’t you call animal control if you had a problem with my cat? Why not call if you were concerned, why not just go back into your house? I just want to know why?” Montgomery said shooting Max goes far beyond hurting her family pet, the criminal hurt her entire family. “It’s horrible as a parent to explain to my daughter that not everyone is bad. I’m hoping as Max gets better, she’ll get better too.”

Atkinson shares her mother’s concerns, “Why did you do it? Max doesn’t get into anyone’s business. He just comes up to people and rubs against their leg. He’s never hurt anyone so why would you hurt him?” Atkinson shared with me a bonding ritual between her and Max. “He used to join me at the breakfast table every morning while I was eating breakfast. Now I sit by his kennel to eat breakfast while he’s recovering.”

Charles County Animal Control told Montgomery they haven’t had any complaints about animals in her neighborhood for the past decade—that’s why Atkinson is so hurt by this crime. “. Our neighborhood is safe and nothing like this has happened and now I’m scared. I just want answers.”

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Charles County Animal Control, Officer Gustafson, at (301-301-609-3431. Charles County Crime Solvers is offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect(s). Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS, texting CHARLES + the tip to CRIMES (274637) or submitting tips online at tipsubmit.com.

Contact Joy Shrum at j.shrum@thebaynet.com

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