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NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (FOX 56) – Animal Control officers in Jessamine County are investigating the death of a cat found fatally impaled by a hunting-style dart.

After missing for a couple of days, Melissa Lapish, who lives on Applegrove Drive in Nicholasville, found the body of her cat, George, near her residence with a hunting dart lodged in his neck/chest area.

Lapish said it was normal for George to come and go, but it wasn’t normal when George ended up missing over the weekend. Then George appeared under her house a day after she search for him in the very same spot when she noticed his white paws sticking out.

“That’s what we think, that someone was probably in the yard when he was shot,” Lapish said.

Someone trespassed onto Lapish’s property, after impaling her cat with a hunting dart.

“And it went in his neck and out his shoulder,” Lapish said.

Lapish said upon finding George, she called the Nicholasville Police Department’s non-emergency number. They sent out a pair of Jessamine County Animal Care & Control officers to the scene.

Officers reportedly examined the body of George, surveyed the surrounding area for any evidence of foul play, and spoke with neighbors to see if they had any information regarding the incident.

Chief Timothy Brown with Jessamine County’s Animal Care & Control said he’s seen this type of weapon before.

“What we do know is that these types of darts are used for boar hunting,” Brown said. “We were investigating a similar incident to this.”

Lapish came to learn that what happened to George was not the first incident. She and her daughter had heard from another owner whose cat suffered the same experience, except the cat lived.

“And apparently another lady contacted my daughter, so this has happened three times, but it’s only been reported once to animal control,” Lapish said.

According to Brown, the other incidents happened not too far from Lapish’s residence, and the hunting darts were a match.

“That’s what makes us believe it was someone in the neighborhood,” Brown said.

Which leads to the question: who could have done such an act of cruelty to a helpless animal?

Brown shares insight that FBI officials in the past have linked this type of behavior with a lot of domestic violence cases; “So someone doing this to an animal could go father and do it to a human,” Brown said.

This case of apparent animal cruelty occurred in the midst of House Bill 20 which hopes to expand parts of Kentucky’s 45-year-old animal abuse law. If passed, the bill would increase the penalty for torture and intentional neglect of a dog or cat to a felony. Under Kentucky’s current animal cruelty law, the crime is considered a misdemeanor.

Lapish and Brown both strongly believe in House Bill 20, and Brown said, it needs to be resurrected to curb such violent acts towards animals.

“HB 20, that would have helped make torture to a dog or a cat a felony, right now it’s only a misdemeanor,” Brown said.

Brown and his team are actively investigating what happened to the Lapish’s cat, George, and for the time-being, Lapish has a message for whoever killed her cat:

“You took a cat away from his family who was really really loved, and there was no reason for that.”

Lapish is asking if anyone has information about who killed George, or if you know someone who has these hunting darts in their possession. Lapish is offering a $100 reward for anything that leads to an arrest or prosecution.

If you have any information regarding George’s case, call the Jessamine County Animal Care & Control office at (859) 881-0821.