On March 29, Bay County Sheriff investigators arrested 52-year-old Margaret Fowler, charging the Florida woman with felony animal cruelty for allegedly using a mallet to beat a neighbor's cat to death.
Fowler, a licensed veterinarian who runs an acupuncture and holistic vet service out of her home, had been spotted by a neighbor hammering a cat several times with what appeared to be a mallet. The witness told investigators she saw Fowler carry the cat across the yard by the tail and drop it by the fence separating the two homes. When Fowler returned to her house, the witness approached the cat, recognizing the animal as belonging to her own live-in boyfriend.
When questioned by authorities, Fowler denied any wrongdoing. She claimed the cat appeared to have been hit by a car and had pulled itself into her yard—she merely tapped the body with her foot to confirm death.
Helping to make the case was Dr. Melinda Merck, the ASPCA's leading forensics veterinarian, who performed a necropsy on the battered feline. Merck's report concluded that the cat was not hit by a car but instead beaten to death with a round, blunt object. She further ruled the cause of death was internal bleeding due to blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen.
"This incident is particularly unsettling," says ASPCA Senior Vice President of Anti-Cruelty, Matt Bershadker. "We are glad to have been able to provide assistance and that the criminal justice system is handling this case with the seriousness it deserves."
If you know of an animal who is being hurt, please report it. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how.