ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The pepper-spraying of a cat by Alpharetta officers has garnered considerable attention from the community.
Now, body camera video is revealing the situation – and the conversations between officers who were trying to decide how to take the animal down.
The department believes pepper-spraying the cat was the best course of action. The video shows the officers trying to wrangle what they described as a public threat.
“His back is arched, his hair is flaring, he's aggressive,” a caller told dispatchers.
It started with a 911 call from a security guard stating employees and customers were being chased by an aggressor in the parking lot.
Audio picked up the moan of the cat before it shows up on the camera. Officers weigh their options on how they should proceed.
“I have my shotgun,” said one officer.
“Why y'all just ain't hit it with a broom?” said another.
“We don't have a baton,” said another. "Oh yeah, I got my baton and I'm (inaudible).”
At least one officer then starts talking about public reaction to their actions.
“You got some folks that will call PETA on us,” said one officer.
“That's why we're trying not to hit it,” another replied.
Shooting the animal is also discussed.
“If he gets against the wall, I'll shoot him,” an officer suggests in the call.
But another officer expresses concern while people are nearby or possibly in the path.
“I know one thing,” one officer said. “If I kill a cat and tell my girlfriend about it she gone be mad.”
The possibility of having to shoot a cat leads to a few jokes among officers as well.
“You think, if I shoot him nine times, they'll (inaudible),” one officer can be heard saying. “Why you shoot him nine times? Because he has nine lives.”
They also explored other options.
“We can tase him from here,” an officer said. “I don't think we want to tase him.”
At this moment the cat is pepper-sprayed. In a freeze-frame, you can see the red fluid coming out of the can. But, as the wind picks ups, an officer inhales some of the blow-back. He then begins to cough.
An officer said the cat is “drooling hard” suggesting it had been hit by the spray.
Officers said when animal control arrived, the cat was nowhere to be found.
The department said it has dealt with rabid cats before and earlier this year an officer was bitten and injured by one. The statement goes on to say the officers planned to quote "stun the cat with pepper spray while waiting for animal control or a catchpole to be delivered to safely remove it from the area."