say they found cat shot to death underneath a bloody shirt on Monday, allegedly killed by a man found with blood covering his pants.
Darrin Koziel, 42 of Hopatcong, was charged with criminal and civil counts of cruelty to animals, second-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and harassment and disorderly conduct after he allegedly shot the cat with a rifle after having an argument with a family member.
Police said they responded to a home on Vermont Trail Monday at 5 p.m. on a report that a man was walking in the backyard with a rifle. Officers responding found Koziel allegedly wearing camouflage pants covered in blood, but without a gun. Further investigation discovered the rifle in Koziel’s house, police said.
Police said officers found a cat shot to death under a bloody shirt in the backyard and a .375 calibre shell casing nearby.
Koziel allegedly had an argument with a family member about cleaning. The family member said he then took the rifle and threatened to hurt himself, police said.
The family member said he then went outside, shot the rifle, and then walked around holding the cat, police said.
Police said the family member called 911 while locked in a bedroom.
Koziel, who was later taken to Newton Medical Center and then the Sussex County Jail, said he did not mean to shoot the cat and that it bit him after he shot it, police said.