Multiple feral cats were shot with blowgun darts, and some were severely mutilated around Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. An Oahu animal rescue group is pointing the finger at soldiers.
"It is our understanding that a group of soldiers purchased blow dart guns while on a recent training to Indonesia and brought them home to Hawaii," the group, KAT Charities, said on its Facebook page.
The Army is investigating the group's claims. KAT Charities, which helps feed stray cats and manages their overpopulation on the island, has raised more than double its initial $1,000 goal as of Monday in an online fundraiser to help pay the veterinary bills for the maimed creatures.
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"U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii was just made aware and is initiating an investigation into these reports. ... We cannot speculate about the details at this time while the investigation is ongoing," officials at the installation said in a statement to Military.com. Schofield Barracks is home to the Army's 25th Infantry Division
A female feline named Katniss was one of multiple cats wounded, according to KAT Charities, which first reported the incident and shared graphic photos of the injured animals on its Facebook page.
Katniss was brought to Aloha Affordable Veterinary Services on June 2 to treat her injuries.
Witnesses with firsthand information are being encouraged to contact the Schofield Barracks military police at (808) 655-5555.
"While we want to give the commanders the opportunity to investigate the situation, we worry animals will continue to be harmed," KAT Charities founder Karen Tyson told KHON2.
Together with Catopia Hawaii, another animal rights nonprofit, KAT Charities is now offering a $1,000 reward for further details on the incident, the group's vice president Beth Doughty said in an interview with Military.com.
As of Monday afternoon, she and her team were still working to catch one last cat spotted with an arrow in it, describing the incident as "discouraging because we hold our soldiers to a higher standard morally. We expect better."
KHON2 also reported that Katniss, the injured cat, is now recovering with a foster family and will be transferred to Popoki + Tea Cat Cafe at the end of the month.
-- Jonathan Lehrfeld is a fellow at Military.com. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media.
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