Kathryn Barnes helped the police catch a murderer- a cat murderer. At least seven cats had been shot at the Three Lakes mobile home park off Sheldon Road in the Town N Country area of Tampa since April 2021. Three of these innocent cats died from their pellet gunshot wounds and others were seriously injured and more cats were showing up injured or killed over the next year a half. In hopes of finding the killer, in total, FVA and The Humane Society of Tampa Bay offered a combined $4,500 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Thankfully the cats had some allies on their side. Kathryn Barnes, her partner Eddie, and another resident, Kristy Bush, look after the stray cats at Three Lakes. They make sure that the cats get vaccinated and spayed or neutered. All three were very distressed by the murders and injuries. They just wanted the cats to be safe and healthy. Phantom was one of the cats who was sadly murdered. And one of the injured cats, “Buddy,” suffered a broken leg and had to have another leg amputated. Although St. Francis Society Animal Rescue organized fundraisers to help cover the thousands of dollars of treatment needed to help rehab the injured cats, much of the costs were generously paid out of pocket by Kathryn. Kathryn made sure Buddy got the care he needed and helped him recover while she was also determined to catch the killer. Other rescues helped too including Chalky’s Cat Crusade and Happy Tailz Cat Rescue.
Kathryn confronted a suspected neighbor twice before he was finally arrested in November. She called police when she heard gun shots and saw a man with a pellet rifle but the man was not arrested until another cat was found with multiple pellet wounds on its body from a few weeks prior. Then the suspect finally confessed. Thanks to Kathryn, Osvaldo Aloma Garrido is facing one count of aggravated cruelty to animals with a weapon. In December, FVA and the Humane Society proudly presented Kathryn with the reward money for providing the information needed to arrest him. Notably, this was the first time FVA was able to pay out a reward like this thanks to her compassion and bravery. Thus, we were proud to present Kathryn Barnes with FVA’s award for Animal Hero of the Year!
- Kim Gronemeyer