Police: Champion man accused of shooting cat complained about strays

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Brian Bickel is charged with prohibited discharge of a firearm and prohibitions concerning companion animals

Brian Bickel, charged with discharge of a firearm on prohibited premises in Champion.

CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) – Police say a man suspected of shooting and killing a cat in Champion complained about neighbors feeding stray cats.

Police were called to the 200 block of Champion Avenue East on Tuesday after a man reported that he saw Brian Bickel shoot a cat and leave it in a neighbor’s yard.

Police said the cat had been shot in the neck by a small-caliber bullet. It was dead, but the caller told police that it was twitching and still alive before the officer arrived.

Police questioned Bickel who admitted to having a .22-caliber pistol, but he denied shooting the cat.

He did complain about people feeding stray animals nearby, saying, “Someone needs to do something about these cats. They are p***ing in my flower beds and s***ing on my driveway,” according to a police report.

Police arrested Bickel and charged him with discharging firearms in a prohibited area, noting that a bullet could have struck a person, home or vehicle in the area. He was also charged with prohibitions concerning companion animals.

The area where the shooting occurred is about a five-minute drive from the home of a Champion woman, who was issued a cease-and-desist letter from the Board of Health, telling her to stop feeding stray cats in the area.

Nancy McCauley said people have been dropping stray cats off in her neighborhood for years, so she feeds them and gets them fixed, costing her hundreds of dollars.

She said she is helping by making sure the cats won’t reproduce, and by feeding them, so they don’t get into anyone’s garbage for food.

Kris Wilster, director of environmental health for the Trumbull County Board of Health, says she is attracting more animals in the neighborhood, however.

McCauley was supposed to appear at a Board of Health hearing this month, but she and the Board of Health are now working to come to an agreement.

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