May 24, 2013 2:54 PM by NBC News
(WOAI) If Bobby the cat had nine lives, he almost used up every single one of them. His punctured lung and broken leg are healing after he was shot Tuesday by a neighbor armed with a crossbow and arrow.
Police say that neighbor happened to be off-duty Boerne, Texas police officer Lance DeLeon, who was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.
Bobby was reunited with his entire family for the first time Thursday afternoon.
"I didn't think we'd see him alive," said Natalie Brunner, whose eyes welled up with tears.
Brunner and her husband and children showered the cat with hugs and kisses. She was outside Tuesday evening and came to Bobby's rescue.
"I heard this swoosh noise, like a swish, and I heard clawing at the back of our fence," Brunner explained. "I didn't see Bobby crest the fence. I saw an arrow and then it quickly disappeared."
Alarmed, she ran for the fence and jumped up to see what had happened.
"Our neighbor was on top of him and he had an arrow sticking out," she said. "All he said was there was no collar on him and he was in my plants. That was all. We've never met the man before."
Bobby was quickly rushed to a nearby veterinarian and once he was stable, he was taken to the South Texas Veterinary Specialists in San Antonio, where he is still recovering. He should make a full recovery, but may need surgery on his leg in a few weeks, Brunner said. There's no ill will between her family and DeLeon's, she said.
"He could have come and easily said, 'Do you own a little brown cat? He comes into my yard and I don't like it.' Turn the water hose on him, call animal control. Being a policeman, he had every resource at his fingertips," she said. Brunner said she was also upset that DeLeon had fired a weapon in the neighborhood and had shot toward her home.
"That arrow could have gone through the fence, hit me, or the dogs, the kids, anyone!" she said.
Bobby's not the only one bandaged up: Brunner broke her ankle when she jumped from the fence with Bobby in her arms. Her husband had helped rescue Bobby from DeLeon's yard.
"We just want to rehab this guy and get back to life an move on," she said.
No one answered the door at DeLeon's home Thursday evening. He is a four-and-a-half year veteran of the Boerne Police department and is now on administrative leave. Despite the incident, Brunner says she backs the department and trusts them to investigate the matter fully. A police department spokesperson declined to comment about DeLeon's arrest.
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